Tragedy On The Slopes

SS Member Image By drodriguez 03.23.09
Tragedy On The Slopes
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Last week we were reminded of how fragile life can be.  Stage and screen actress Natasha Richardson died having suffered from head injuries related to a fall on a beginner ski slope in Canada.  She was a wife and a mother of two sons.   Ms. Richardson was just 45 years old.

Daughter to legendary actress Vanessa Redgrave, grandchild of premier British stage actor Sir Michael Redgrave and wife of award winning actor Liam Neeson Ms. Richardson possessed a rare combination of genuine acting ability and inherited thespian royalty status.   Lights dimmed on Broadway before its 8 p.m. performances on Thursday in her memory.

What makes Ms. Richardson's death so hard to comprehend is that conventional wisdom tells us beginner slopes, or "bunny hills" are safe. Moreover, we wonder how a seemingly minor accident could have ended so tragically. 

The high profile, tragic death of Ms. Richardson has left some to question if laws should be put in place to force people to wear helmets when skiing.  It was just 11 years ago that both singer-turned-politician Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy were killed in skiing accidents.  Both were not wearing helmets.
Although the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) promotes helmet usage it does not push for helmet laws.  A USA Today article reported "sports-injury experts say ski helmets cut the rate of head injuries by 30% to 50% ? and are particularly valuable when participants fall and suffer a glancing blow to the head on hard-packed snow."  The NSAA reported that that helmet usage is up by about 13 percent from the 2002 and 2003 where only 25 percent of skiers wore helmets to last winter which saw some 43 percent of skiers donning helmets.

Would hearing a story like this make you more apt to wear a helmet while participating in winter sports?

Do you think that, in light of Natasha Richardson's death, helmet laws should be put in place and enforced on ski slopes?

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  • fpeters By fpeters

    this was the definition of a tragedy. This just shows that we need to live like there's no tomorrow. Life can be taken from us in such a sudden, and if it does we can only hope that we changed at least one life in our time spent on earth.cry never, laugh often, forgive always...R.I.P Natasha R. you will be missed

  • lmeade By lmeade

    What happened to Natasha Richardson is definitely a tragedy. Her decision to not go and get checked out in the emergency room regarding her head injury contributed to her death. I do believe wearing a helmet can save lives and I wear a helmet during certain sporting activities. However, it would be very difficult and almost impossible to enforce people to wear helmets during skiing and/or other sporting activites. I feel it's very important to show ads regarding immediately going to the emergency room following any accident involving head trauma which might increase the number of survival rates regarding this type of injury.

  • chloee By chloee

    helmets should be worn in any sport, because you just never know. from t-ball to riding motorcycle, even skiing, why wouldn't you want to play it safe?

  • Litesugar By Litesugar

    I would definitely wear a helmet after hearing about Ms. Richardson's story and those Mr. Bono and Mr. Kennedy. However, I don't think that a law should be passed to force adults to wear helmets if they do not want to do so. This is the land of the free and I believe that it should be a person's decision on whether a helmet is used or not.

  • suoliu By suoliu

    I was totally devastated when I learned of Natasha Richardson's death. She was one of my favorite actresses. And to die in a skiing accident seems so unremarkable and senseless. I didn't even realize until now that there are helmets available! I have never gone skiing before and when you look at vacation photos of people on the slopes, you rarely ever see anyone wearing a helmet. Helmets and other proper sports gear should be enforced for all sports activities whether it's skateboarding, bicycling, roller blading etc.

  • colie2k By colie2k

    I understand wearing protective gear but just can't get away from the fact that we never did as I was growing up. That's not to say we shouldn't now I just have a hard time feeling adamant about it. But I am sure I would if tragedy struck my family.

  • babybrooke54 By babybrooke54

    people should really waer helmets and be safe

  • Dalton By Dalton

    Such a senseless tragedy that possibly could have been prevented by wearing a protective helmet. We are so used to making our children wear helmets when riding their bikes, skateboarding, etc. - parents should be just a diligent about their safety as well.

  • kimryan131 By kimryan131

    I belive that wearning proper protective gear during any sport is extremely important and I believe everyone should be deligient in doing so. We always tell our children to, why do we not do so for ourselves?

  • pattiusaccc By pattiusaccc

    I agree that protective gear is essencial to any sport. However, I don't agree that it should be imposed. People need to be more responsible for their own good and I don't think it is right to impose anything on anyone unless it poses a threat to somebody who has nothing to do wiht your own problems!

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