Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Cut By Half Due to Helmets

Although some say that helmets are not protective enough, they are shown to reduce the risk of severe traumatic brain injury by half, according to a U.S. study.

severe traumatic brain injury reduced by wearing helmet

Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a severe traumatic brain injury by 51 percent. (Flickr / Creative Commons / Robin Zebrowski)

People who wear helmets also have a 44 percent lower risk of death and 31 percent lower odds of facial fractures, researchers reported in the American Journal of Surgery.

Wearing a helmet has been compared to wearing a seat-belt in an automobile. It does not reduce the risk of an accident occurring, but it reduces the risk of serious injury if you do get into an accident while wearing one.

Although millions of Americans ride bicycles, less than half wear helmets, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2013, there were 900 deaths and about 494,000 emergency room visits due to bike-related incidents in the U.S., according to the study.

The data was analyzed from the American College of Surgeons’ National Trauma Data Bank. Researchers looked at records of 6,267 people treated in 2012 for bleeding inside of the skull after a bicycle accident.

Only one quarter of these people were wearing helmets at the time of the crash, revealing a serious area of concern. We need to start getting more people to wear helmets.

Just over half of the people had severe traumatic brain injury, and three percent died. Helmets provided the most protection to the upper part of the face such as the eyes. Helmets issued less protection to the lower part of the face, like the nose and jaw.

In addition, people who wore helmets were less likely to have brain surgery. Despite all criticism of helmets, this study shows that helmets do issue a degree of protection.

Riders who wore helmets were more likely to be female, white, and insured. Riders ages 10 to 20 were among the least likely to wear helmets. The people in the 60 to 70 age group were most likely to wear helmets.

Teenagers are an especially important age group to get to wear helmets. Wearing a helmet can be perceived as uncool. The key to helmet compliance is starting early. We need to instill the importance of wearing a helmet as soon as children start riding bikes and make it a habit for them.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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