Objective: To determine the reliability of reporting of information on risk factors from a standard accident report form used by ski patrols and a follow up mail questionnaire or telephone interview among injured skiers and snowboarders.
Setting: 19 ski areas in the Canadian province of Quebec between November 2001 and April 2002.
Participants: 4377 injured skiers and snowboarders seen by the ski patrol, who completed a follow up mail questionnaire or telephone interview.
Main outcome measures: κ and weighted κ statistics were used to measure the chance corrected agreement for self reported ability, age, skiing time on day of injury, lessons, type of practice, use of helmet at time of injury, and hill difficulty.
Results: The κ value for helmet use at the time of injury was 0.88 (95% confidence interval 0.87 to 0.90) and for other risk factors ranged from 0.45 (skiing time on day of injury) to 0.98 (age). Few differences were seen in reporting by body region of injury. Reporting consistency was lower for respondents who completed telephone interviews compared with those who completed mail questionnaires and those who responded more than four months after the injury.
Conclusions: Moderate to almost perfect agreement, depending on the risk factor, exists between ski patrols' accident report forms and follow up information. Ski patrol reports can be a reliable and readily available source of information on risk factors for skiing and snowboarding.