Helmets: A Heads Up on Preventing Sports Injuries
On professional and amateur levels, head injuries, including concussions, are common sports injuries. Athletes of all ages and abilities wear helmets as a safety mechanism to protect against head injuries ranging from crashes to minor bumps and bruises. The cranial coverage helmets provide has undoubtedly influenced the decisions of most major league sporting associations to implement wearing helmets as a mandatory practice.
While helmets can provide protection from, injuries including skull fractures, it is actually a common myth that helmets prevent concussion. An estimated 1.8 to 3.6 million concussions occur per year in the United States in sports and recreational activities, even when athletes wear helmets.
Since a concussion involves the shaking of the brain much like an egg yolk in an egg shell, padding alone cannot prevent this dangerous motion. In fact, helmets have shown to protect against skull fracture and severe traumatic brain injury but there is little evidence that helmets reduce the incidence of concussion.
It is important to wear helmets while participating in all sports but remember that a well-managed concussion is the best form of prevention. If an athlete undergoes any force to the body and begins experiencing concussion symptoms at any time, seek evaluation from a medical professional trained in concussion management.