Our Brains Are Fragile!

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Why does it take the injury of a hockey superstar to bring the discussion about head injuries back in to the headlines? Of course, it’s tragic that Sidney Crosby, the current sports hero of all Canadians (remember his last minute goal in the 2010 Olympics that captured the Gold medal for Canada) has suffered a serious head injury. Hockey fans are distressed that Sidney Crosby’s concussion has forced him to sit out 8 straight games with no timetable for a return. What concerns me even more is head injuries are permanent! Once the brain is damaged, it won’t repair. Unlike a broken arm which can heal or a hip that can be replaced, we’ve only got one brain for life and it can’t be fixed! Sidney Crosby is still a young man with a very promising future ahead of him. Yet he is sitting at home at the moment unable to focus on the television. Concerning brain injuries, do you know what drives me crazy? The flippant attitude some people have towards safety helmets! Although safety helmets won’t guarantee complete protection from head injuries (after all, Sidney Crosby was wearing one), they are still our best defense. And until we have a better piece of equipment to protect our brains, I will insist on my kids wearing a safety helmet whenever they are biking, skiing, and skating. I’d force them to wear one tobogganing as well except they’ve outgrown that sport. Heck, I even told my kids I’d like them to wear helmets while golfing – not because they are lousy golfers (they are actually scratch golfers) but because of the other golfers on the golf course who can’t hit a ball straight if their life depended on it. In response, my kids understandably laugh at me and accuse me of simply trying to sell more helmet covers to golfers! LOL!!! [caption id="attachment_1180" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Natasha Richardson"][/caption] I bet if we had the opportunity to ask Natasha Richardson, the actress who died last year while skiing without a safety helmet on a beginner slope at Mt Tremblant, if she would do things differently; she would now choose to wear a safety helmet. So why do I still get challenged when I remind some parents the law requires their toddlers to wear a safety helmet even when they are riding a tricycle on their driveways? Some parents think I’m crazy when I encourage helmet use for tobogganing even after I inform them there are more head injuries incurred while tobogganing than skiing & snowboarding each year. And, of course, some people are quick to call it a “police state” when we suggest that helmet use for adults in skiing, snowboard, and biking should also be mandatory. I guess they would rather have the right to kill themselves or severely maim themselves than be forced to wear a helmet. Here are some facts:
  • Every 15 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a traumatic brain injury. Of the 1,000,000 people treated in hospital emergency rooms each year, 50,000 die and 80,000 become permanently disabled because of traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is higher than the combined incidence of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Brain injuries occur more frequently than breast cancer or AIDS. One out of every fifty Americans is currently living with disabilities from TBI. There's even an association between head injury and Alzheimer's disease later in life.
  • More than 100,000 Canadians are brain injured every year. It’s the leading cause and death amongst young men.
Still not convinced that safety helmets are a MUST when involved in biking, skating, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing & equestrian sports?  I encourage you to watch the following video created by the Brian Injury Association of Canada: Some of you may not have heard the motivation behind my business, Tail Wags Helmet Covers. I was involved in a serious ski accident several years ago but fortunately I was wearing my ski helmet. That helmet saved my life! This is why I’m so passionate about promoting safety helmet use. Do you know anyone who was involved in an accident that led to a brain injury? Please share your story … I think the only way to convince others to take this issue seriously is to raise the awareness of concussions.

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  • I’m always adjusting their helmets to cover their foreheads! It’s a fight to have it tight enough to be safe yet not gagging them. ;) My brother actually took a spill on the ice as an adult (no helmet) and cut his eyebrow pretty good. Do you wear one on the ice? I don’t. Am I ridiculous for not doing so? I always wear my bike helmet. I hope I get points for that. ;) Did you ever see my bicyle video? It’s on my Videos page (button right under my banner). I’m just realizing how much better that video would have been with some Tail Wags helmet covers in it! ;)

    Thanks, Karen. I suspected that might be the case with needing a different helmet for ice skating/skiing/sledding than biking. I’ll get on that.

    Wombat Central on
  • OMG! You must have been devastated when your friend passed away. That’s a message I keep trying to reinforce is that it doesn’t matter how good a skier you are, it’s the other skiers and snowboarders on the hill that you sometimes have to worry about.
    Bike helmets are not designed to protect your head if you fall when skating and sledding. A snowboarding helmet is more suitable because it will better protect the lower back side of the skull. Please make sure your son’s snowboarding helmet is worn properly so that it is low on the forehead. Some kids wear their helmets incorrectly pushed back on their head so that their foreheads are exposed.
    Thank you so much for commenting on my blog post!

    Karyn Climans on
  • Back in the 80’s (waaay before helmets were common for skiing), a friend of mine took a freak fall on the slope (he was an excellent skiier, who some say had his eye on the Olympics), and passed away from the head injury he sustained. So sad.

    I’m shocked at how many kids I see zooming around on the ice rink with no helmet. It causes my son to balk at my making him wear one, but I won’t back down. The thing I wonder is if a bike helmet is okay for skating. Would a snowboarding helmet be better for that and sledding?

    Wombat Central on
  • You go you! It does unfortunately in this society have to have something tragic happen to someone famous to open peoples eyes. I don’t understand why people would chose not to wear a helmet. Will it ruin your hair? I don’t know but I’d rather have a helmet head than a dead head!

    Kimberly on
  • Some people walk in the opposite direction when they see me because I’m going to say something about their lack of safety helmet. But I won’t give up on spreading the word!
    I agree re: Chris Medina and American Idol. It left me in tears too! The man is a saint!

    Karyn Climans on

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