Doctors applaud New Brunswick ski industry leadership

The New Brunswick Medical Society is applauding the mandatory helmet policies put in place by three New Brunswick ski hills: Poley Mountain (Sussex), Sugarloaf Park (Campbellton) and Mont Farlagne (Edmundston). All three policies were implemented voluntarily and require helmets to be worn by all skiers and snowboarders.

“We applaud all initiatives to keep New Brunswickers safe as they pursue outdoor leisure activities this winter,” said Dr. John Whelan, NBMS President. “We believe New Brunswickers should get outside and get active, and do so safely. Enforcing helmet use is a simple, easy way to prevent injury – studies show that helmet use has reduced brain injuries by up to 60 per cent.”

While voluntary use of helmets is often quite high, there are still tragic accidents that happen to Canadians every year, which could have been avoided by wearing a helmet. The personal cost to these individuals is often life-long and considerable. The cost to the health care system is also very high – the annual cost of caring for a person who has suffered a major brain injury is about $400,000.

“As we encourage active lifestyles in all seasons, we also encourage the use of helmets to avoid unnecessary head injuries,” continued Dr. Whelan. “We believe these policies are an excellent initiative, and can be communicated, enforced, and taught at ski hills themselves.”

In 2012, the Province of Nova Scotia enacted a law that makes helmet use compulsory on ski hills. To date, it has seemingly resulted in minimal cost to government and minimal complaints from the industry and its patrons. The Province of New Brunswick may be able to avoid creating such legislation if all ski hill owners comply with voluntary policies.

“The ski hill owners really deserve to be congratulated for their leadership on this,” said Dr Whelan, himself an avid skier. “It isn’t an easy business decision to say, ‘let’s go ahead and do the right thing, even if some of our customers would rather not wear a helmet’ – but they have done exactly that.”

CONTACT: Aleisha Bosch, New Brunswick Medical Society, (506) 458-8860 Ext. 633

Founded in 1867, the New Brunswick Medical Society is the professional association representing all physicians in New Brunswick. Its twin goals are to represent and serve physicians, and advocate for the health of New Brunswickers. Over a hundred New Brunswick doctors sit on our Board and Committees, representing the 1600 doctors in the province.