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Do Helmets Prevent a Brain Injury?

Updated on 24 March, 2024
Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Alina Fong

Do Helmets Prevent a Brain Injury

Helmets are worn in countless sports and activities to protect the head from injury, specifically brain injury. We all wear helmets frequently in our lives, whether it is for something as as simple as biking or as adventurous as zip-lining.

Answer this question for yourself, honestly. Do you wear a helmet 100% of the time while riding a bike or participating in a sport or an activity that requires a helmet?

I remember when I was a young child I did not like wearing my helmet, especially when riding a bike. As a kid, you don’t think about the what ifs. I thought my helmet was inconvenient and uncomfortable. I was under the impression that I looked “cooler” without it. Clearly I wasn’t thinking about the consequences that could occur if I were to fall off my bike.

One day as I was complaining a bit more than usual about having to wear a helmet, my mom told told me a story that changed not only my attitude, but my behavior for the rest of my life. She proceeded to tell me that her mom had passed away from a brain injury because she was not wearing a helmet on her bike. If she would have been wearing a helmet, she likely would have still been severely injured, but it could have prevented her from death.  

Interesting FACTS:

  • According to the CDC, millions of people ride bicycles and less than half of them wear helmets.
  • 97% of bicyclists who died were not wearing a helmet.
  • A football helmet can reduce the risk of skull fracture by 60-70%
  • A college football player takes 1,000 hits to the helmet every season

Here is a list of  specific sports an individual needs to wear a helmet in:

    • Ice skating
    • Rollerblading
    • Skiing
    • Snowboarding
    • Wakeboarding
    • Horseback riding
    • Rugby
    • Football
    • Lacrosse

Earlier this year Cognitive FX asked participants in a survey questions about concussions and some interesting survey results showed the following:

    • Over 50% of people said they don’t wear helmets while skiing.
    • The majority of people said they don’t wear helmets while wakeboarding, ice skating, and rollerblading.

While helmets do not prevent a brain injury, they do reduce the risk of a structural brain injury by as much as 85%. Helmets also do reduce the risk severe physical injuries to your head such as a skull fracture, along with other structural damage that can occur in brain injuries. On the other hand, helmets do not prevent injury to the brain or brain functionality such as concussion, or closed head injuries. 

With this knowledge, we challenge you to wear a helmet every time you are choosing whether or not to wear one. Take action and protect your brain from a brain injury, because it is not worth having an injury that can change the rest of your life, and impact your life in ways you may only begin to imagine.

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