Use a Helmet #illumedati


Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again today. Today is just going to be a short post: “Use a Helmet“.

Be like Kylie. Use a Helmet.

Use a Helmet

My daughter has been trying to learn how to ride her bike again. It’s been a little difficult for her since we don’t really have a big flat cul-de-sac or a quiet street for her to practice on. For this reason, the bike we bought for her almost two years ago hasn’t gotten much use. However, she’s interested in learning again and so we’ve been trying.

Unfortunately, the two years of disuse of her little bike has left the tires a little flat. Of course, we never bought a tire pump since we never needed one so I headed out to Walmart today to go pick one up. While I was there I saw a few families looking at bikes for their kids. The kids were of course super excited to pick out a bike. The Walmart employee then asked the parents:

“Do you need any help with picking out a helmet?”

and the answer was

“Nah, we never needed helmets when we were kids. They’ll be fine.”

This was kind of true — back then.

When I was a kid I rode my bike without a helmet for pretty much all of my youth until they passed the helmet law sometime in the early 1990s. Then you could be ticketed/fined for not wearing a helmet and were under the age of 18.

As I looked back on it, for the most part I was fine… but then I remembered something:

As a child I remember riding my bike home from elementary school from school. I think I was in 3rd or 4th grade at the time, riding my bike home with the “big kids”, my sister’s friends. I don’t know exactly what happened, but apparently there was an accident where we ran into each other. From my knowledge, we weren’t even going very fast. You may be wondering why my experience of what happened is so vague — well, it’s because I don’t remember.

At the time I was told we ran into each other and my head hit the ground. I just cried and cried until the ambulance came to get me and I got checked out. Apparently I suffered a mild concussion and pretty much blacked out. I have no recollection of the accident, the ambulance, the hospital, and even the few days after. The only remember starting to ride from home school is being back in school a few days later with everyone asking me what happened. Everything in between doesn’t exist to me.


So now what?

The point I am trying to make is that it doesn’t take much for someone to have a concussion, especially without a helmet. Your brain is stored in this bone cage and it’s fragile. It’s not designed to be able to withstand impact. This is especially true for any impact occurring at a speed faster than humanly possible.

This is a commonly used gif which demonstrates how impacts occur. People think this gif is sensationalized because the brain won’t move like that, but they’re wrong. The brain is mostly suspended in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and will demonstrate movement, although probably not as exaggerated as above. This is the reason that both coup and contrecoup injuries occur:

I think this video illustrates the idea well.

It may have been “ok for us” back when we were growing up, but I think we know much better now. If you’re going to ride a bike, skateboard, scooter, or roller blades, you should wear a helmet.

I don’t agree with the “less than 18 years old” laws. Your brain doesn’t suddenly become less fragile once you turn 18 years old. Everyone should use a helmet.

Be safe. Use a helmet.


Do kids even need them when they’re just learning with training wheels?

I would argue that yes they do. Kids can still fall even with training wheels.

However, the more important thing is that the understand the process.

“If I’m going to ride my bike, I need to put on my helmet.”

I think it’s a good habit to develop.


TL;DR

Learn from experiences.

I had a concussion as a kid.

Be safe. Use a helmet.

“If I’m going to ride my bike, I need to put on my helmet.”

Your brain doesn’t suddenly become less fragile once you turn 18 years old. Everyone should use a helmet.

Medicine Mondays Sensei

-Sensei

Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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