Being an avid skier, I have for many years never worn a helmet, preferring to feel the rush of the wind through my hair whilst hurtling (on occasion) down the mountain side.
This year however was different. Having never skied in Italy before, friends who had been there had already warned me that very few people take to the slopes without a helmet, and that children under 14 would not be allowed on the slopes without one. The latter was not a problem, as both my young boys have always worn helmets – but the thought of wearing one caused both myself and my husband some concern and consternation. It wasn’t what we were used to.
We did however take the liberty of hiring a helmet each, and I for one had no problem, wearing it all week without issue. My husband struggled, and whilst being quite follicely challenged, and so not really having the excuse that he missed the wind through his hair, he didn’t really take to wearing it and so spent the last couple of days skiing without it on, much to my dismay.
After reading a report in The Times today though of a case involving a nine-year-old girl who suffered a horrific accident whilst skiing, and was only saved by her helmet, I will be insisting that the next time and indeed every time we ski, he wears one.
India Furness, a nine year old British child from Cerne Abbas, Dorset, was in the ski area of Goldreid in the resort of Matrei in East Tyrol, when she lost control and hurtled off the side of the piste. She was catapulted through the window of a wooden cabin, and doctors have said that her life was saved only because she was wearing a ski helmet. She remains in intensive care, after being airlifted from the scene, within 10 minutes of the accident, by an intensive-care rescue helicopter.
Terrifying stuff, but a sharp reminder of how freak accidents can happen and how important it is to be properly protected, whenever you are participating in a dangerous, and sometimes not so dangerous sporting activity.
By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney