Ski Helmets: Collision Coverage for Your Head
From the top of a snow covered hill, I looked on with horror as my 4-year-old flew down the steep slope atop her sled, headed dead on for a tree. I had already closed my eyes, knowing she’d surpassed the point where she could hear my scream to roll out. Too afraid to view what was about to happen, I missed seeing a young boy at the bottom of the hill who had had the presence of mind to throw himself in front of her sled moments before she would have struck the tree.
At that moment in 1997, I wondered why we had become so protective of our children’s heads while on bikes, but had neglected their noggins while on snow. A few years later, the sudden death of high profile people who had suffered head injuries on the slopes, notably Sonny Bono, Michael Kennedy and Natasha Richardson, brought the need for head protection to the forefront.
The New York Times reported this past weekend that helmets are popping up throughout the nation’s ski areas, citing the National Ski Area Association’s report that nearly half of all skiers and snowboarders wear helmets in the United States; that’s up 25% from the 2002-3 ski season.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Wearing a helmet for all snow sports is one of the best ways to prevent head injury. Considering the seriousness of such an injury, it’s a small price to pay for extra protection. Unlike a minor concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause disability when serious trauma to the brain occurs. Symptoms of a mild TBI include:
Lightheadedness or sense of spinning
Blurry or double vision
Ringing in the ears
Bad taste in the mouth
Fatigue or lethargy
Behavior or mood changes
Difficulty concentrating or thinking
If headaches worsen over time, or never subside, a moderate to severe case of TBI may exist. Immediate emergency medical attention is necessary when these signs are visible:
Vomiting or nausea
Convulsions or seizures
Loss of consciousness (more than 30 minutes)
Dilation of one or both pupils
Weakness or numbness in the limbs
Loss of coordination and possibly bowel movements
Increased confusion, restlessness or agitation