Keith Johnson, Deseret News archives
A young tuber makes his way up the slope at Sugarhouse Park as after taking a run Monday, January 16, 2006.

SALT LAKE CITY — Health officials say being safe in the winter weather can help Utahns avoid the traumatic brain injuries that affecting hundreds of state residents each year.

The Utah Department of Health says 440 Utahns suffered a recreation-related traumatic brain injury in 2009, and ten percent of those came from snow sports such as skiing, sledding and ice skating.

Snow sports rank fourth among causes for major brain injuries in Utah. They follow bicycles crashes, ATV or dirt bike accidents, and horse accidents.

Health officials say residents can protect themselves by wearing a helmet. Two-thirds of brain injury victims in Utah were not wearing a helmet at the time of their accident.

Officials also recommend checking weather and avalanche conditions before venturing into the state's backcountry.