Importance of Helmets and Athletic Gear in Preventing Brain Injuries

Brian was an average American boy who liked politics, MTV, and hanging out with his friends, but early on a June morning he decided to go skateboarding without his helmet. Within a few hours, the authorities had notified Brian’s mother that he was being air lifted to a major hospital. He had fallen off his skateboard. Before the day was over, Brian died from blunt force trauma to the head. His death initiated the organization known as Wear a Helmet, which is a community that promotes the use of safety gear.

The unfortunate truth is that Brian is one case out of thousands. Over 50 percent of significant accidents on skateboards, bicycles, and motorcycles result in head trauma. These head injuries can be prevented by the use of protective headgear. Many people think that helmets are worn by children, but helmets should be worn by people of all ages.

How Helmets Work

Helmets are designed to provide maximum protection against a sudden impact to the head. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Snell Memorial Foundation have published strict guidelines that help hold helmet production to a high standard. A helmet will have a hard exterior, which encases two layers of foam. This exterior layer is skid resistant and prevents wrenching of the head or rotation of the brain. There are two layers of foam. One layer is thicker than another, but both serve the same purpose. The foam in the helmet works to extend the head’s stopping time during impact. This concept is teleologically similar to an airbag. In order to limit the force of impact, the length of stopping time must be increased. Both layers of foam in a protective helmet increase this stop time.

Why Wear a Helmet?

Studies prove that wearing helmets decrease the likelihood of severe head trauma during an accident. For example, some studies indicate that you’re more than 70 percent likely to suffer head trauma in a motorcycle accident if you’re not wearing a helmet. Headgear protects one of the most vulnerable areas of the body. The brain is the center integrating system for the nervous system and is essential for all functions of the body. Unlike sprained ankles or broken legs, damaged brain and neural tissue will not heal. This makes protecting the brain one of the most important practices in safety. If you experience a severe blow to the head without protective headgear, you could develop brain damage, which can lead to death, coma, acute or permanent amnesia, seizures, decreased mental faculty, and behavioral changes. Any high-activity sport or activity in an uncontrolled environment could lead to injuries to the head. Bicycling, motorcycling, riding four-wheelers, boxing, playing football, climbing, skating, and skiing are just a few examples of appropriate helmet-wearing activities. Also, if you work at a job with an uncontrolled environment you should always wear a helmet. Professionals who work in high-risk environments include firemen, construction workers, miners, engineers, and soldiers. Helmets should be worn with straps attached, so that the helmet does not fall off. Having a helmet of the right size is imperative, too. A loose helmet provides little protection because it allows the head to be jarred during a collision.

Preventing brain injuries and other serious accidents can also help keep insurance rates down. By taking the simple steps to protect yourself, you will help yourself in the long run with term life insurance, as well as other insurance types. Your rates will be kept lower and you will be able find a plan more easily. If you did receive a traumatic brain injury through circumstances beyond your control, an attorney specializing in brain injuries can help you learn you rights and discover the best options for your future.


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