Put a lid on it!
“Trauma-Rama,” we all call it. Urgent care offices and Emergency Departments are busy every holiday weekend. By 7PM, business is booming. It seems like the minute the fun starts, so do the numbers of injured patients in our offices or in the E.D. (‘E.R.’ is what you watch on TV; ‘E.D.’ is what the Emergency Department is really called). Sometimes it can be tough to see a lot of preventable injuries – like kids on bicycles who weren’t wearing helmets and wind up with head injuries. Whether or not they were wearing a helmet is one of the first questions I ask, and all too frequently the answer is supplied by their injury before the word “no” is even spoken. This surprises me a little, and I (yet again) give my well rehearsed speech about how not only can a helmet prevent major head injury, but it can also prevent some cosmetic damage to the face, and in many jurisdictions it’s against the law not to wear one if you’re under a certain age (usually 16)! Little by little, I hope I’m convincing people about how important this really is.
Every year in the US, there are over 500,000 injuries attributed to bicycles,
and they range from simple cuts and scrapes to skull fractures and devastating internal brain injuries, even death. I always say that in a match-up between unprotected skull and pavement, pavement almost always wins.
This is not to discourage anyone from riding their bikes. So please, go outside and ride your bike. Ride like the wind. But put on your helmet when you do! Be a good example to others around you and don’t wind up learning the hard way like little 9 year old Joshua (not his real name) that I took care of recently. A car ran into him while he was on his bike un-helmeted and he went careening across the car hood, sustaining a brief loss of consciousness and a significant scalp laceration. Fortunately, he did well. Obviously, this injury was partially the result of a car running into Joshua, but my point is that no matter who initiated the impact, you want to protect your head anyway so things don’t become traumatic. You only get one brain! After his stitches and treatment I asked him if he’d ever ride his bike again without his helmet, and he replied, “no way, and I’m going to watch my brothers and cousins too.” I smiled and thought to myself, “no more next time for this guy.”
Mission accomplished, one by one. At least for today.
For more information on injury prevention, you can check out www.safekids.org
Helmet statistic source: (www.helmet.org)