Sunday, April 12, 2009

Use Your Head: Wear a Helmet

Some recreational activities, such as riding horse, skiing, snowboarding, riding bicycle or riding motorcycle, carry with them an increased risk of traumatic brain injury should an accident occur. The single best way to prevent catastrophic brain injuries as the result of an accident is to wear a helmet.

Dr. Marvin Zelkowitz, a board-certified neurologist at Ingalls Memorial Hospital, notes in the SouthTown Star that "In my 30 years as a neurologist, I have seen every type of head injury imaginable, from mild to fatal. Wearing a helmet can help reduce serious head injuries 50 to 80 percent of the time."

Helmets provide two types of protection, Dr. Zelkowitz said. "They're best at preventing penetrating injuries, but they also absorb quite a bit of force."

In order to choose the right type of helmet, one must keep in mind that different activities require different types of helmets. For example, you shouldn't wear a bicycle helmet while skiing and vice versa. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Website or the Snell Memorial Foundation, which independently tests all types of helmets to learn more about choosing a helmet. Design and fit are the most important safety features of any helmet. They should be comfortable and snug. A helmet should be centered on the top of the head and the strap should always be buckled.

Helmet use is particularly important for children. As many as 75% of bicycle-related deaths among children could be prevented by the use of a bicycle helmet. To encourage regular helmet use, adults should serve as role models for their children and wear helmets as well.

Despite best intentions, injuries still do happen. The risk of head injuries or traumatic brain injuries is highest among men ages 15 to 24. Fortunately, most head injuries are relatively minor, but for half a million Americans every year, the injuries are severe enough to require hospitalization. For safety’s sake, anyone who has suffered a blow to the head should seek medical attention. If you experience convulsions, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, dilation of one or both pupils, vomiting, severe headaches, confusion or agitation, you should seek emergency medical attention. The initial period of care following a brain injury is critical. Emergency care for traumatic brain injury focuses on preventing permanent and serious brain damage.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as the result of a bicycle or motorcycle accident, contact Meuser & Associates to learn about your rights under Minnesota law. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 877-746-5680, or click here to send us an email.

Visit Minnesota Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Law Firm, Meuser & Associates, P.A., at
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