Helmets key to ski safety?

Along with millions of others, I was saddened to hear of Michael Schumacher’s terrible skiing accident on 29 December. Although retired now, Schumacher is a seven-time F1 World Champion and is widely thought to be one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time.

The accident took place in the French Alps when he fell and hit his head on a rock, sustaining a head injury.

He was taken to a local hospital, then to a regional hospital in Grenoble that specialises in the treatment of brain injuries, where he was given urgent neurosurgery and put in a medically induced coma.

His condition is currently described as stable, and a friend is reported to have said «his life is no longer in danger».

But doctors treating Schumacher have said he would not be alive if he had not been wearing a helmet.

Now, the personal injury lawyers Colemans-ctts are calling for ski helmets to be made compulsory across all European ski resorts. At the moment it’s illegal to ski without a helmet in some US resorts, but in Europe some ski resorts require only children to wear helmets while others have no rules at all.

Clare Roantree of Colemand-ctts says:: «It is of huge concern that even with such conclusive evidence available that ski helmets are yet to be compulsory. How many lives must be saved by helmets — and how many lost without one?»

She pointed out that we’ve only heard about Schumacher’s accident because of the prolific figure he is. There were 53 accidental deaths recorded during the 2007-08 season, according to the National Ski Area Association.

In many of these cases, a safety helmet played — or could have played — a vital part. Ms Roantree states: «We believe there is no margin too small on lives saved. We urge every ski resort in Europe make the use of safety helmets compulsory.»