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I sometimes feel like a hypocrite when it comes to helmet use

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Let me start by saying I am pro-choice when it comes to helmet use and I always wear one cycling and 99% of the time while skiing. But I wouldn't even consider using a helmet for soccer and basketball even though there are more traumatic brain injuries in the USA per year from these sports than from all winter sports combined (including snowmobiling). In golf the number of traumatic brain injuries per year is only half that of winter sports yet you would be considered seriously paranoid to wear a helmet while golfing.


As for driving there are roughly 18 times more hospital admissions per year in the USA for traumatic brain injury from a motor vehicle crash than winter sports yet I have never heard anyone advocating helmet use while driving.


My question is (even when you factor for the participation rates) whether skiing and other "extreme" sports are being picked on disproportionately compared to other sports or activities when it comes to promoting helmet use? And will activities like driving your car be the next frontier in promoting helmet use - statistically it serves to benefit more people than helmet use while skiing.


Source data (ignore the ambulance chasing lawyer stuff on the site)




post #2 of 3

I suppose it depends how many of those head injuries suffered those head injuries as a result of not wearing a seatbelt.  It also depends what sort of injury they ended up with.  If memory serves (and I'm likely completely wrong here) the most common injury resultant from a motor vehicle (not a motorcycle) accident would be whiplash.  Which is the result of your head suddenly snapping forwards then backwards as your body stays "still" but your head continues at the previous velocity.  This'll put bruising at the front and back of your brain and generally make for an uncomfortable/damaged neck. 


A helmet would not help this kind of damage, as it's the skull itself damaging the brain.  In fact it would increase the likelyhood of whiplash/neck injury/ head injury because of the extra weight involved.  In some cases the extra weight has actually caused the vertebrae to separate during a race crash.  It's important enough that most car racing orgs have a requirement for head restraints for the drivers such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HANS_device .


So with the two major possibilites whiplash and no seatbelt.  I would say that no, helmet wearing is not likely to be enforced in enclosed vehicles.  Because the people who don't wear seatbelts won't wear a helmet.  And unlike on a motorcycle a helmet without a restraint can put enough force on the neck with the torso strapped down by a seatbelt to cause more damage then would happen with out.  I also cannot see a helmet replacing a seat belt in a car because it would necessitate leather gear to protect from additional damage should you be ejected from the vehicle, and I just don't see that becoming a trend.  It's uncomfortable enough to wear that stuff when you're hanging out in the breeze, I cannot imagine wanting to wear it in the car. 


I understand it's also possible that you could hit your head in the event of a rollover, or sideswipe, but I have to assume these are far less common then the above.



post #3 of 3

How about boxing?  Ha.

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