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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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  • am_i_lost By am_i_lost

    I think wearing proper protect gear while particapating in any sport/activity is what should be done. What does get me though is that it only matters when it is someone of fame that is impacted and change is in order. How many regular every day people have been severly injured or lost their lives in simalur accidents. Not to make light of Ms. Richacdson's tragedy. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

  • Daintry2 By Daintry2

    I would wear a helmet no matter what sport, if they made one for it. Having been hit in the head by a hockey puck as a SPECTATOR, I knwo first hand how dangerous any sport or hobby can be. We make our kids wear helemts when riding a bike, why not when skiing. It may not be fasionable, but senseless deaths could be avoided. My hear breaks for Liam and their children.

  • danadance By danadance

    This tragic loss has convinced me that helmuts are not just for my children. My husband and I will begin wearing them now when biking and skiing.

  • pjhebert By pjhebert

    Wearing proper gear is very important. They need to do more than just promote it need sto be required.


    It is very sad to hear about Natasha Richardson. I agree that helmets should be worn while skiing and snowboarding by everyone - not just children.

  • elainecad By elainecad

    What a classy lady she was and what a shame. I think helmuts should be worn by both children and adults.I know my daughter will definitely be wearing one as soon as she learns to ride a bike.

  • linda_answer By linda_answer

    It was certainly sad that a relatively young and talented actresses' life was cut short by something so senseless. I do hope more people starting wearing helmets for all sports. I feel for her husband, sons, and her Mom and sister.

  • mkmac4 By mkmac4

    It is sad that this happened but she should have gone to the hospital immediately. An ambulance was there. It would have saved her life. Even though she thought she was ok-she should have never taken a chance like that. If you fall-get checked out. You just never know these days.

  • cheermom8 By cheermom8

    Personally, if there is a helmet I would wear it, BUT no more laws, please! It is your head, you decide if it is worth it. Besides, not all accidents are preventable even WITH head gear on. (A friend's daughter died in a bike accident and she was wearing one.) Parents should make the choice for their children but other adults should make their own choice! We have enough of a NannyState as it is!

  • ticklemeusilly By ticklemeusilly

    I think that it is a personal choice, and that each of us should be allowed to make that choice for ourselves. Only children should be told what they must do to protect themselves. As adults, we each weigh the risks, and make the decisions. I do understand that when you lose someone you naturally want to make changes to stop anyone else from losing someone close to them, but the sad truth is that we are all very fragile and accidents can, and will continue to happen, no matter what precautions you take.

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