What is the purpose of a helmet (i. e. why do people wear helmets)? (2): The purpose of a helmet is in an uncontrolled environment it acts as safety gear that can minimize and prevent injury to the head. People wear helmets to “protect [themselves] from head injuries that can kill you” (Consumer Report, 2016), such as bleeding inside the skull or brain and skull fractures; with the decision to wear a helmet separating the difference of injury and disaster (Consumer Report, 2016).
Helmets can also be purposeful in preventing traumatic brain injury (TBI), and when American nationwide records were analyzed of over 6,200 people by researchers at the University of Arizona in Tucson who as a result of an accident had a TBI, they concluded that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of severe injury by 58 percent (Consumer Report, 2016). Some people who use helmets for the purpose of preventing concussions which is a form of TBI, however, whether a helmet is capable of this is not evident in the literature.
What are some claims from manufacturers and the media regarding concussion prevention using a helmet? (2): In recent news, there was controversy when the hockey equipment company Bauer made claims that their helmets prevent concussions. However, the Competition Bureau investigated and deemed that they could not make such claims as the knowledge of concussions is still in its infancy with the research between helmets and concussions being insufficient and misleading to consumers. Consumer Report recognizes that no one knows whether or how much helmets reduce concussion risks.
However, there is the possibility of correlation as a helmets materials are meant to disperse force from blunt trauma and can stop the brain from jostling as severely inside the skull, which is what causes concussions (Consumer Report, 2016). Consumer Report, however, does recommend the use of helmets and provides ratings to help consumers chose a helmet for their needs, but they cannot say a helmet prevents concussions. What does the literature show regarding helmet use to prevent concussions? (4):
Data on helmets and concussion prevention are very limited, as it is difficult to create a study as concussions occur through different mechanisms. To add further difficulty in creating a study, many mild-to-moderate cases of TBI (including concussions) are not reported. While current data indicates that helmets reduce impact forces to the brain, and therefore reducing the incidence of head injuries in general, studies have not translated into whether or not helmets reduce the rate or severity of concussions.
There is hope in further helmet designs, but at this point, helmets cannot be proven to prevent concussions. (Hanna’s article) For example, in a study it was found that differences in between two models of helmets affect the ability to reduce concussion risk, thus leading to evidence of reduced injuries in relation to concussions although helmet design may never prevent all concussions (Chloe’s article). However, further study into these designs is needed, specifically into helmet designs that lessen acceleration over the continuum of impacts (chloe’s article).
Are there special recommendations for use (i. e. age, sport)? (2): The type of helmet recommended depends on the sport it is to be used for. Helmets that are made specifically for a certain sport have variations that suit the needs of the sport to protect the athlete. Also, sports have their own specific rules that define required safety equipment that an athlete must wear in order to play. Numerous sports require mandatory helmet use, such as football. However, depending on the league (such as professional versus recreational), these rules may not be always enforced to their fullest extent.
In organized sport, helmet use is usually mandatory regardless of age, as it is important to prevent TBI at any age. In regards to cycling, certain cities have created bylaws that require mandatory helmet use for people riding bicycles. This can be enforced to anyone riding a bike, or require children under a certain age to wear a helmet. What are the consumer sentiments towards helmet use to prevent concussions? (2): In today’s society, there is resistance towards wearing helmets.
When recommendations are made to wear helmets, especially in unregulated areas, these sentiments are often ignored as deemed unnecessary by people. For example, a person may deem recreational skating at an outdoor rink, or cruising on a bike as not dangerous and not warranting a helmet. Some may see it as uncool or could interfere with personal appearance (such as messing up one’s hair). When wearing a helmet, players may engage in riskier behaviors due to overconfidence (hanna’s article). Also, helmets are often improperly used with a lack of knowledge on how to properly fit helmets.
However, there are people, for example, certain parents, who do instill that wearing a helmet can be a great factor in personal safety and may teach these sentiments in their children, who then continue use helmets through activities were they can reduce/prevent injury. Do the claims and consumer reports agree with the literature? Please explain. (2): Manufacturers who claim that their helmets (whether it be for hockey, biking, etc. ) prevent concussions better than their competitors often have no evidence to back up their claims.
When they do have evidence, the data cannot be verified. This claim disagrees with the literature, as the literature states that currently there is insufficient evidence that helmets can prevent concussions. Consumer reports agree with the literature, as it is recognized that it is not known whether or how much helmets prevent concussions. Summarize the evidence and make an evidence based recommendation regarding helmets as a method to prevent concussions. (4) Analyzing the current evidence, helmets are not a method to prevent concussions, and manufacturers should not claim as such.
However, there are promising new designs of helmets that aim to specifically reduce the instances of concussion, but these models will need further testing to provide evidence to these claims. At this time, helmets reduce the incidences of TBI in general, and while this term includes concussions, it is too difficult to study the impact helmet use has on concussion rate exclusively. Therefore, in order to produce evidence that helmets are a method of preventing concussions, it is necessary to first study the mechanism of concussion itself.