The following is a guest post from Robert Traister of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), a Nutcase partner in loving all brains. This is the first of four posts from BIAA this March (Brain Injury Awareness Month), to cover some of the issues BIAA works on all year-round. Flickr Photo Credit: badlyricpolice

IT’S BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH – Wear A Helmet – Helmets Help!

For many recreational activities, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a brain injury and may even save your life. During a fall or collision, the helmet absorbs energy from the impact, which can reduce the chance of injury to your brain.

There are different helmets for different activities, and each type of helmet is made to protect you from the impacts common to a particular activity. For example, a football helmet is designed to protect against a different level of impact than a bicycle helmet. That’s why it’s important to wear a helmet that is appropriate for the activity you’re involved in, and that’s fitted properly for your head.

A helmet should be both comfortable and snug. It should sit level on your head, not tilted back or pulled too low over your forehead. It should not move in any direction, back-to-front or side-to-side, and the chinstrap should be buckled so that the helmet doesn’t move or fall off during activity or a collision.

Most helmets come with foam padding and adjustable straps to customize the fit. If this doesn’t work, consult with the store where you bought the helmet or with the helmet manufacturer.  Here’s the popular Nutcase helmet fit video.

Never wear a helmet that doesn’t fit correctly.

In the event that you have a collision, it may be necessary to replace your helmet. This depends on the severity of the impact and whether the helmet was designed to withstand more than one impact.

Bicycle helmets are designed to protect against a single severe impact, such as a fall onto pavement or cement. The foam material inside the helmet is designed to crush during a fall to absorb the impact energy. After a fall, the helmet can no longer protect against an additional impact. Even if there is no visible damage to the helmet, it has done its job and needs to be replaced right away.

Other helmets, such as football helmets, are designed to protect against several moderate impacts. These helmets may still need to be replaced after a severe impact, or if there is visible damage like a crack or dent.

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