Last week, British actress Natasha Richardson passed away
following a blunt impact to the head on the ski slope. The star, who was not wearing a helmet while taking ski lessons at a private resort in Quebec, died shortly after the fall because of brain damage. Her case is now being used by authorities in Quebec in a bid to have ski helmets introduced as mandatory items on all ski slopes.
A ski law that would mandate helmets on every one of them, be they for advanced or beginners, would be extremely appropriate now, especially in light of the latest tragedy, it has been said. It would reduce the number of deaths by accident on ski slopes, a figure that has increased considerably over the past year, because helmets have not been part of the skiing gear.
In this sense, Minister Michelle Courchesne has already met with emergency room doctors and will speak with ski resort operators and owners this week about mandatory helmets on the slopes, a spokesperson confirms for The Associated Press, as quoted by USA Today
Even if the move has been a long time coming, and has already been brought up for discussion a couple of times more, it continues to be strongly opposed by operators. “Alexis Boyer of the Quebec Ski Areas Association said he supports the use of helmets, but does not back a law mandating their use, saying it would put operators in the position of having to police their guests.” the aforementioned publication informs.
Valerie Powell of the Canada Safety Council, though, is of another opinion, pointing out that, “By no means will a helmet save you 100 per cent, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction to try to prevent brain damage or something like that.”
As noted above, Natasha Richardson died from a seemingly innocuous fall on the “green slope,” which was dedicated exclusively to beginners. She was not wearing a helmet at the time, but, despite getting up almost immediately, laughing the whole incident off and refusing medical assistance on the spot, one hour later, she complained about severe headaches and asked to be taken to the hospital for a check-up. She was later transported to a clinic in Canada, reportedly already unconscious.
The next day, a brain-dead Natasha (according to reports in the media
) was flown to New York, after doctors told the family that there was no chance of recovery, to have friends and relatives say their good-byes to her. She died shortly after and her body was buried over the weekend. Given the excessive media attention Richardson’s case generated, authorities in Quebec now consider that introducing ski helmets as mandatory would be the most appropriate and common sense thing at this point.