15 June 2008

Ban The Assault Snowboards!

Well, the verdict is in. The U.S. Centers For Disease Control has concluded, as a result of an exhaustive study, that more people are being injured by snowboarding than any other outdoor activity.

So you know what must be done. We must ban the assault snowboards! For the children!

This first ever study to estimate recreational injuries concluded that snowboarding injuries represent one-quarter of emergency room visits in the United States.

"We want people to participate in outdoor recreational activities. But we want people to recognize that there's cause for concern and people can and do get injured," study co-author Arlene Greenspan said Tuesday. She said injuries can be avoided through planning and preparation: making sure your fitness level and skills match the activity and using proper equipment like helmets.

"Greenspan said the study is the first to look at injuries from all activities, instead of individual sports or geographic areas. The researchers looked at data on nonfatal injuries from outdoor activities treated at 63 hospitals in 2004 and 2005. They calculated that almost 213,000 people annually were treated for such injuries nationwide. About half of those injured are young, between ages 10 and 24 and half of the injuries are caused by falls."

Nearly 26 percent of the injures were from snowboarding followed by sledding (11 percent); hiking (6 percent); mountain biking, personal watercraft, water skiing or tubing (4 percent); fishing (3 percent) and swimming (2 percent). Nowhere is there any mention of . . . injuries from sports shooting, one of the most popular, if not the most popular outdoor recreational sport.

The full text of the Wilderness Medical Society study may be found here. Here are the categories (minus the shooting sports or hunting or anything related), that WERE observed in the study:

Camping equipment
Climbing, mountain
Exercise (hiking)
Horseback riding
Ice/snow boating
Jet skis
Mountain bikes
Scuba diving
Skydiving/hang gliding
Snow disks
Snow skiing
Water skis

The study also shows that some 2.3 percent , or 133 cases, not meeting certain criteria, were "excluded." So I wonder . . . is the absence of any statistics regarding the shooting sports because the numbers were so low as to be statistically insignificant? Or perhaps, was there a built-in bias ahead of time, knowing that the shooting sports -- despite the huge numbers of Americans of all ages and sexes who take part -- has such a low rate of injury that it was excluded in advance? Or were there no individuals with shooting sports injuries in hospitals at the time of the study?

Remember, this is the same agency (not the WMS, but the CDC) that after another exhaustive study could not find any evidence that the disastrous 10-year federal ban on competition rifles reduced crime.

Even a New York Times blog questioned the latest study, wonodering how surfing and skiing were not ranked higher than snowboarding. The other interesting observation of the Times blog was that another study last year showed that surfing injuries were less than that of people playing college football, soccer or basketball.

Which then would likely put the shooting sports even lower on the list of outdoor sports injuries.

A few years ago, outside Camp Perry, site of the annual National Matches, there was a large billboard. On that board was listed the million of rounds that had been fired at Perry during the summer, noting there was not a single injury, let alone a death. The board also listed the number of professional football players who had died or suffered severe injuries that same summer during pre-season camps. The comparison was staggering.

So, what does it all mean? It tells this author that it is far safer to have firearm in hand participating in skeet, trap, sporting clays, hunting, high-power, black powder, recreational/fun matches, IDPA, IPSC or even just some plinking.

And without question, it is CLEARLY far too dangerous to play in the snow.

h/t to Ellen Wickham

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