Helmet rule helps protects the brain

Last week, the bike helmet rule hit home. Two competitive cousins decided they wanted to be first in a string of cousins winding its way slowly to the bike path. They took off in a flash down a hill, one on the sidewalk and one moved to the road, to grandma’s horror.

What is TBI?

According to the Center for Disease Control, a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. Helmets help protect the brain.

Families can help

Experts ask that families be informed and stay informed about ever-changing research. The cdc.gov site is an excellent place to start. The site also offers free training for coaches and teachers.

Second, families must know the signs of concussion. According to the CDC, “most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children and teens. Those who have had a concussion in the past also are at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion.”

Symptoms fall into four categories: thinking/ remembering, physical, emotional /mood and sleep. Young children may not understand or be able to explain how they feel. See the cdc.gov website for a full description of each symptom and recommendations.

Children are injured by what they do most frequently –riding a bike, scooter or skateboard. In winter, add sledding, skiing, and other sports. Organized sports have rules for safety and train coaches. It is the every-day, fun activities that require families to be educated, aware and involved.

Third, wear a helmet for sports. According to Dr. Craig Coccia, a neurosurgeon and strong advocate for children wearing helmets, families can provide helmets that fit and insist children wear that equipment.

Fitting is important– snug but not too tight. The padding should be fresh, not dried up. If anything is loose or spins, replace the helmet. A little-known fact is most helmets are designed to absorbing strong impact ONE time. They crack and must be replaced to offer protection. Grandparents and parents can help by inspecting helmets and replacing them, if needed. What a great gift to help keep loved ones safe.

Were the cousins wearing their helmets? Yes. However, one now has two fractured arms, a front tooth totally knocked out through his braces and many facial and leg abrasions. There was no concussion or worse, thanks to the helmet. Note on the tooth — put it in milk and take it to the ER with the patient.

For more, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons; Facebook, and Pinterest.