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Hiroyasu Ogawa et al.: The American Journal of Sports Medicine, March 2010, 38:532-537. Snowboarding-related injuries have been associated with specific snowboarding skill levels, but differences in specific skill level have not been identified. The subjects of this study were 19539 snowboarders from the Oku-Mino region in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, who were admitted to the hospital during the 12 snowboarding seasons from 1996 to 2008. They were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding age, gender, self-estimated skill level, injury location, injury type, mechanism of injury, and protective gear. Physicians documented diagnostic variables and injury severity score; these variables were compared among the self-estimated skill levels. Results: Of the total 19 539 injured snowboarders, 1204 (6.2%) were novices, 6409 (32.8%) were beginners, 9260 (47.4%) were intermediates, 1918 (9.8%) were experts, and the skill level was not known in 748 (3.8%). Proportions of the trunk and multiple injuries increased with increases in skill level; however, the number of head/face injuries decreased with increase in skill level. Upper extremity injuries also decreased with increase in skill level, except in novices. Dislocations and multiple injuries increased with increase in skill level, while lacerations/contusions, fractures, and bruises decreased. The mean overall injury severity score was 3.28 6 0.02, and the value increased significantly with increase in skill level. The proportion of collision and isolated fall injuries significantly decreased with increase in skill level, but that of jump injuries significantly increased. The percentage of protective gear use increased with the increase in skill level. Conclusion: Prevalence of injury type, injury location, mechanism of injury, and percentage of protective gear use varied according to skill level, and the severity of the injury increased with increase in skill level. On the basis of their observations, the authors believe that snowboarding injury prevention strategies should be formulated according to skill level.

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