Quebec push on for mandatory ski helmets

March 19, 2009 at 11:25 AM

MONTREAL, March 19 (UPI) -- Doctors in the Canadian province of Quebec are renewing their call for mandatory helmets for skiers and snowboarders after the death of Natasha Richardson.

The bid to make helmets mandatory for winter sports was under way before the 45-year-old actress fell and suffered a fatal brain injury at Quebec's Mont Tremblant ski resort this week, The Gazette newspaper in Montreal reported. She was not wearing a helmet.

The coalition of emergency room doctors petitioned the provincial government for regulations three weeks ago, saying "60 percent of head trauma could be avoided by wearing a helmet" by winter sports enthusiasts.

However, the Quebec Ski Hills Association prefers that helmet use be optional, spokesman Alexis Boyer told the newspaper.

"It is a major concern for us -- if it gets too complicated to go skiing, people will stay at home with their Xbox and we won't achieve what we are trying to do, which is to foster the love of (winter) sports," he said. "We think it is up to the skiers to decide whether they think a helmet is good for them."

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