Richard Kinar, the former freestyle skier and West Vancouver resident is the 2009 recipient of the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Fund Award.
Mr. Kinar has worked consistently and effectively within local communities, medical associations, the sport community and with politicians to promote the use of brain protecting helmets to limit the possibility and severity of head injury in sports and recreational activities.
After witnessing a serious collision between two young skiers that resulted in serious head injuries, Richard began a grassroots campaign to raise funds for the development of a Canadian standard for alpine ski and snowboard helmets. He has spent most of the past decade on a crusade to improve both helmet safety standards and effective injury prevention programs.
Despite running into resistance on a number of fronts, Mr. Kinar’s perserverence paid off. In March of 2009, the Canadian Standards Association announced Canada’s first Alpine Helmet Standard for Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledding and Tobogganing. According to the CSA, the standard in particular would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Richard Kinar. His devotion to ski and snowboard safety ultimately led to the Government of British Columbia providing initial funding to make the standard possible.
But according to Mr. Kinar, beyond better helmets, broader usage of them is required, if injuries are to be reduced and lives saved. Richard believes all ski operators should make it mandatory for all staff to wear helmets while on the hill, to set a good example. The recent decision by Intrawest to make ski helmets mandatory for specific skiers and recommended for the rest is a step in the right direction and will hopefully have a ripple effect throughout the industry.
Mr. Kinar, 53, a member of the CSA Helmet Ski Committee, is the sixth person to receive the award which includes a $10,000 prize. While not promoting safety on the Ski Hills, Kinar works as a receiver and spends his spare time promoting his message including the documentary “Wipe Out”. The film shows the long term social and economic effects of preventable head injuries on three skiers. He is also a Board Member with the Brain Injury Association of Canada.
“Richard is very passionate about head protection and is a worthy recipient,” says Dr. Pat Bishop who chairs the Canadian Standards Association Committee on safety equipment and was the first winner of this prestigious award.
“He was most influential in getting the ski helmet standards passed,” Bishop said. “He convinced the politicians in British Columbia to provide the funding for the CSA to develop the CSA Standard.”