Do Helmets Truly Prevent Concussions?

  • Posted on: Aug 15 2019
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The team of Orthopedic Associates of Long Island provide patients in the community with the information they need to know about injuries that can impact their body. One common concern is that of concussions. Concussions are injuries that impact the brain’s function. These can be serious and should not be taken lightly. We have many parents who bring their teenagers into our practice who participate in high impact sports asking: does a helmet truly prevent concussions?

Concussion prevention with helmets

While many have been led to believe the helmets are used to protect against concussions, this isn’t explicitly true. There have been many debates as to whether helmets prevent or increase the risk of concussions during trauma to the head. Other protective equipment, such as mouth guards and neck guards, are also under fire from sports organizations and concerned parents as to their part in protecting an individual.

A concussion is actually a type of mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, commonly caused by a hit to the body or head during an activity. These immediate blows can cause the brain to move quickly within the skull, causing what we call a concussion. They are not always caused by trauma to the head. They may occur due to falling on the back or getting hit during a car crash and causing the brain to accelerate inside of the head.

Helmets at this point in time can’t actually protect against a concussion, especially if it is caused by a blow elsewhere on the body that causes a whiplash situation. While helmets cannot actually truly protect an individual from a concussion, they can reduce the risk of skull fractures, scrapes, cuts, and other conditions that may stem from high impact sports. This is due to the way helmets are made. Their hard, outer shell can dissipate force and spread the impact over a larger area—instead of creating a point of impact that can cause skull fractures. The softer materials on the inside of the helmet can also reduce the impact by absorbing some of it.

Overall, it is still critical for patients to wear a helmet in certain sports and activities, including snowboarding, motor sports, football, cycling, and skiing. By wearing the helmet properly by getting the right size and ensuring it fits right, most patients can avoid many injuries to the head that may impact their overall health and wellness.

Learn more about concussion prevention, diagnosis, and treatment

At Orthopedic Associates of Long Island, patients can ask their sports medicine provider about the ways in which they can protect themselves from concussions and reduce their overall risk of trauma in high impact sports. Call our main number at (631) 689-6698 to schedule a consultation appointment at any one of our seven locations in the communities of West Babylon, Wading River, Conmack, Riverhead, Patchogue, Southampton, and Setauket, NY.

Posted in: Concussion

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