[Truncated abstract] The aim of the research was to explore the association between wrist guard use and wrist fracture risk in snowboarders in Australia. During the study, the opportunity was also taken to examine the relationship between wearing wrist guards and the severity of wrist and elbow injury. A case-control study was conducted at the Mount Buller Medical Centre, Victoria, Australia. A total of 494 participants was recruited during the 2004 and 2005 ski seasons. Cases were defined as any snowboarder seen at the Clinic with a fractured wrist (N = 119), and controls as any snowboarder seen at the clinic for any reasons other than a fractured wrist (N = 375). Severity of forearm injuries were defined and analysed separately. Study participants completed a questionnaire consisting of: basic demographics (age and sex only); wrist guard use on the day of presentation; normal use of protective equipment; the number of days spent snowboarding that season; the ability of the snowboarder; and ski run difficulty. Risk taking behaviour was assessed by a history of any previous fracture or joint injury and psychometric questions. Clinic medical staff recorded site and severity of fractures and soft tissue injuries. Logistic regression was used to obtain adjusted odds ratios for these risk factors against the main outcome measure. Presence of wrist fracture and injury in snowboarders with and without wrist guards. ... There was a significant association between wrist guard use and soft tissue elbow injuries (adjusted odds ratio = 17.6, p = 0.011, 95% CI: 1.93 – 160.2), but no significant association with elbow fractures (adjusted odds ratio = 1.84, p = 0.385, 95% CI: 0.46 – 7.30). There was thus no evidence in this study that wrist guards increase the occurrence of other severe injuries in the forearm by transferring the impact force away from the protected wrist up the arm. No evidence was found for compensatory risk taking behaviour in participants wearing protective equipment. A local injury prevention strategy was implemented in schools in the Mt Buller district during the course of this study. Education about the protective effects of wrist guards enabled a policy change in the local secondary college so that wrist guard use is now mandatory for all snowboarders in the school ski programme: That policy states: "No wrist guard = no snowboarding". Recommendations are made to evaluate the local injury prevention strategy by monitoring fracture rates prospectively, and to investigate the effect of type of wrist guard used on injury type and frequency. The results of this study are consistent with the international literature and provide support for the suggestion that wrist guard use amongst novice and school age snowboarders should be mandatory. Wider dissemination of such evidence to ski schools in Australia could provide the necessary impetus to argue for a mandatory policy of wrist guard use in all novice snowboarders. Such a policy could be readily enforced through ski schools.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2009|