Listening to Music Causes Less Injuries?

Eiki Helgason listens to music whilst riding, the other guy doesn't...
Eiki Helgason listens to music whilst riding, the other guy doesn’t… Photo: Jeff Curtes

A few weeks ago a study was published on the British Journal of Sports Medicine that suggests that snowboarders that listen to personal music whilst riding in terrain parks are less likely to get injured than those without headphones in. You can read the full study here.

Whilst it’s tempting to seize this as proof that wearing Skullcandys makes you invisible, whacking a pair on and run to the nearest black kicker to try that triple cork first try, it’s worth remembering that correlation doesn’t always mean causation.

While listening to music decreased the odds of any injury in the terrain park, it increased the odds of an injury resulting in ED (emergency department) presentation.

Maybe the reason for the findings is that more experienced riders listen to their own music in the park – instead of venturing in with friends for the first time they’re hardened slopestyle veterans training for that extra 180. Or maybe it’s just they can’t hear the damage they’ve just caused carving through the innocent throngs of people hording up the park.

It’s worth as well reading down the survey and realising that whilst 50% more music listeners avoided injuring, the injuries the headphone wearers did receive had “significantly higher odds” of landing them in hospital.

Do you listen to music whilst riding? Does it make you feel safer? We’d like to hear from you in the box below.

Here is the abstract from the report in full:

Background: Some snowboarders listen to music on a personal music player and the objective was to determine if listening to music was associated with injury in a terrain park.

Methods: A case–control study was conducted at a terrain park in Alberta, Canada during the 2008–2009 and 2009–2010 winter seasons. Cases were snowboarders who were injured in the terrain park and presented to either the ski patrol and/or a nearby emergency department (ED). Demographic, environmental and injury characteristics were collected from standardised ski patrol Accident Report Forms, ED medical records and telephone interviews. Controls were uninjured snowboarders using the same terrain park and were interviewed as they approached the lift-line on randomly selected days and times. Multivariable logistic regression determined if listening to music was associated with the odds of snowboard injury.

Results Overall: 333 injured cases and 1261 non-injured controls were enrolled; 69 (21%) cases and 425 (34%) controls were listening to music. Snowboarders listening to music had significantly lower odds of injury compared with those not listening to music (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 0.68; 95% CI 0.48 to 0.98). Snowboarders listening to music had significantly higher odds of presenting to the ED versus ski patrol only compared with those not listening to music (adjusted OR 2.09; 95% CI 1.07 to 4.05).

Conclusions: While listening to music decreased the odds of any injury in the terrain park, it increased the odds of an injury resulting in ED (emergency department) presentation.

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