How Do Motorcycle Helmets Prevent Concussions?
One of the most debated topics is whether a motorcycle helmet can help prevent concussions in a crash.
Everyone, from bikers to expert medical practitioners, seems to offer varying opinions regarding this topic. Some say that a helmet doesn’t very little to keep off concussions, other explain that it doesn’t help at all.
In this post, we’ll weigh in on this topic and give you our views regarding the ability of motorcycle helmet to prevent concussions.
What Is A Concussion?
For us to determine whether a helmet prevents a concussion, let’s first understand what the concussion is all about.
A concussion simply refers to a type of traumatic brain injury resulting from a blow, bump or jolt to your head or a hit to your body and causes your head (and brain) to move back and forth rapidly.
In simpler words, a concussion results from your brain tissues moving back and forth at high velocity.
The sudden movement causes your brain to twist inside the skull or bounce around, creating chemical changes in the brain…and in some cases stretching and damaging your brain cells.
Does Helmets Prevent Concussions?
Sorry to break it to you, but a motorcycle helmet isn’t quite effective at keeping off concussions.
From what we have just seen above, concussions happen when the brain bounces inside the skull. Because you wear a helmet over your head, it can’t hold the brain in place and stop it from moving around.
To get the clear picture of why a helmet won’t help against concussions, think of your head like an egg—where the shell is your skull, the yolk represents your brain, and the whitish part is the surrounding fluid in your brain.
If you were to shook the egg really hard, it’d affect the yolk inside. It’d literally turn the inside of your egg into a scrambled egg. However, the shell will remain intact.
But then again, you can crack the shell of the egg but that doesn’t guarantee the yolk would be damaged.
If you place a protective cover over your egg, it might protect the shell form getting damaged. But the yolk would still be vulnerable because nothing is holding it down and preventing it from bouncing around inside the shell.
Your brain is surrounded by a fluid such it’s free floating inside your skull (just like the yolk of an egg or an embryo inside the embryonic sac). Because the brain is free hangs in this fluid inside your skull, there’s no way to protect it from bouncing and jostling inside there.
The helmet you wear over your head may only protect your skull from impact and serious damages, but it won’t hold down the brain tissue suspended inside your skull, so a concussion would ultimately occur in case of a crash.
See the clear picture here? If a concussion occurs as a result of the brain moving inside your skull, how can a lid that your wear on your head protect against it?
It’s just not possible.
Note that by the term helmet, we’re referring to all types of helmets, whether you have a full-face helmet, open face helmet, and so on.
Shouldn’t I Wear a Helmet Then?
Not really. You should still wear your helmet when riding your motorcycle. After all, it might be mandatory to put on a helmet when on the road, depending on the state you reside in.
Helmets usually undergo serious testing to ensure they’ll keep your head safe if you get involved in an accident. For this reason, they come ready to keep you protected from skull fractures, contusions, brain lacerations, and blood clots in/around your brain.
They do this by significantly reducing the amount of force applied to your brain during a crash. And in some way, the reduced impact that hits your brain can in some way contribute to minimizing the severity of a concussion and ensure you don’t suffer more serious traumatic brain injuries.
A motorcycle still plays a big role on keeping you safe when the unexpected occurs.
To conclude this topic, no helmet is 100% concussion-proof. A concussion occurs as a result of the brain moving back and forth inside your skull at a high velocity. Because you wear a helmet on your head, and not inside the skull, it can’t fully stop a concussion.
Nevertheless, you should still continue wearing a helmet as it helps reduce the amount of impact transferred to your head during an accident. The reduced impact can, in some way, reduce the severity of the concussion and save you from suffering more serious traumatic brain injuries.
Just make sure you put on that helmet every time you plan to go out for a ride.