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Study: helmets do not increase the risk of neck injuries

Riders who don’t see the need of wearing a helmet cite their own reasons for that. To begin with, they claim to be expressing their feelings regarding their personal freedom, which isn’t wrong anyway. They also insist that helmets reduce visibility and deny one the freedom of feeling the wind. Another reason, which is considerably old is that there are high chances of neck injuries in case of a crash when one is in a helmet. A recent study, released just yesterday, reprimands this old claim. Read on…

According to the theory behind this claim, the weight of a helmet could cause the victim’s head to whip around in a fall, injuring not only the neck but also the part of the backbone between the skull and ribs. This injury could extend to the spinal cord, too. A study at the University of Wisconsin Hospital Trauma Center by three doctors based on the hospital’s 5-year record uncovered that these claims aren’t valid. These findings were published in The Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

The research touched on 1,061 crash victims who sought medical attention at this trauma center between 2010 and 2015 (the aforestated 5-year period). As Wisconsin doesn’t require adults to put on helmets, 738, representing 69.6% of the patients weren’t in a helmet when they crashed while the remaining 323 (30.4%) were wearing helmets. The results had it that 15.4% of those who had no helmets became cervical spine injury victims. 7.4% of tho who had helmets put on suffered injuries of the neck, contrary to whatever the old theory wanted us to believe is true. More results are that 10.8% of those who had no helmets suffered neck fractures as only 4.6% of those with helmets suffered the same. 

If you’re interested in viewing and grokking more of the findings, feel free to visit the journal’s official website. The researchers, apart from just explaining the methodology used during the research, talk about other researches that had been previously done regarding the issue. One of such is a study conducted back in 1986, which is the one that has always been used to back up the old theory that helmets increases the possibilities of neck injuries in case of a crash.

I bet that some people may dislike this, but it is true that it has become so common that we do things in advance then start looking for evidence to back up our deeds, instead of looking for reliable information prior to what we want to do to help us in decision making. Okay, of wearing a helmet isn’t a legal requirement, you can go ahead and ride unhelmeted, you’re free. But, according to me, making choices with reliable information beforehand is safe. Good luck pals!

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