Remember To Wear Your Helmet When Doing Extreme Sports

 By: Mark Fjord
Natasha Richardson was only 45 years old and enjoying a skiing holiday with her husband, the famous actor Liam Nielsen; a simple fall on the bunny slopes led to Natasha getting back up on her feet and dusting herself off while chatting to her family and friends, a little shaken she walked off the slopes but despite the instructor telling her to get to hospital but she refused because she felt perfectly fine.

Natasha was not wearing a helmet and the blow to her head soon demonstrated how serious even minor blows can be. Natasha developed a bad headache within an hour of the accident and despite getting to hospital; she tragically died the next day.

Natasha Richardson is by no means the only celebrity to have died as a result of an accident involving a blow or impact to the head when they were not wearing a helmet. Sonny Bono died in a similar accident on the ski slopes as did Michael Kennedy, son of Robert Kennedy along with hundreds of other people in similar circumstances.

Extreme sports provide thrill seekers with the opportunity to enjoy the ultimate in adrenaline rushes and excitement, but with this come an elevated risk of injury, particularly to the head. This is why is it is absolutely essential to wear a helmet whenever you are engaging in extreme sports or any activity where there is a risk to the head.

Any blow or collision involving your head which impacts with a greater speed than 15 m.p.h. is highly dangerous. The human body is simply not designed to withstand collisions at speeds greater than this, and though the outside of your body may be in good shape or only suffer minor cuts and bruises, it is the damage to the brain itself which is the issue.

When your head suffers from a blow or impact, the brain itself is moved - your brain has a consistency similar to jello. The brain moving against the inside of your skull leads to bruising and swelling and this is referred to as a concussion. While a concussion can be serious and unpleasant for the sufferer, it is not the worst that can happen. The brain itself may bleed, known as "brain bleed", and like a concussion the effects may not be noticed immediately, but the damage has occurred so treatment is necessitated immediately. This is why Natasha did not feel she needed to get to the hospital as soon as she was hurt, but valuable time was lost in getting treatment until the condition had deteriorated to such a tragic extent.

Wearing a helmet does not guarantee protection from brain trauma, but studies have shown that cyclists wearing a helmet are 85% less likely to suffer brain trauma than a cyclist without one. Wearing a helmet can soften the blow to the head, which in turn ameliorates the damage to the brain inside the skull, though there are no guarantees. The safest course is to wear a helmet and to seek immediate medical attention if you do hit your head - each year, 1.5 million people suffer a brain injury and there are over 5 million Americans who have to live with brain injuries, make sure you and your family never become part of those sad statistics.
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