Helmets: Limited Protection of the Head and Brain from Serious Injury or Death

Helmets: Limited Protection of the Head and Brain from Serious Injury or Death

All too often, after a serious accident or fatal injury, a parent or loved one will discover that reliance on a helmet to keep a worker, student athlete, professional player, or riding enthusiast safe was a flawed assumption. Helmets may be marketed as being very safe and they may feel like they’re very protective when they are worn, but the reality is that no helmet on the market today can prevent a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

For more, read our previous post “Helmets and Head Injuries: Construction, Football, Bicycles, Motorcycles, and More.”

It is true that advancements in helmet design are working to make safer head gear. High impact forces are better absorbed with the latest in helmet materials, granted. These can mean that a broken bone in the head, in other words a skull fracture, is avoided. It may not mean that the brain has been spared from injury. A serious concussion or traumatic brain injury can result even if the skull is not fractured.

The force and spin and jarring movement of a serious head injury can harm the human brain even if the helmet is being worn at the time.

Football Helmets and Head Injury

We’ve been monitoring the serious situation of football helmets and traumatic brain injuries here for several years. For more information about how truly horrific the current concussion risks and permanent brain injury dangers that face any age of football player (from child to pro), read our posts which include:

Helmets in football are vital. No one should play on the football field without one; that goes without saying. Still, football is such a dangerous sport that head injuries, even minor ones, are commonplace. It’s important for all football players to try and avoid being hit on the head (like in heads up playing).

Moreover, it’s important that football helmets be inspected regularly to make certain that they are working properly for the player. For instance, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations:

1. The football helmet should not prevent the wearer’s field of vision both looking side to side and looking ahead.
2. The football helmet should sit comfortably on the head and the ear holes should align with the wearer’s ears.
3. Chin straps on the football helmet should not be loose; they need to be a snug fit.
4. The football helmet should not slide on the head once the chin strap is snapped into place.
5. The football helmet should meet with the wearer’s head without any gaps. The pads should be touching the head inside the football helmet.

Get Free Phone App to Check for Concussion Symptoms at Site of Accident or Injury

Today, there is a free app offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which can help bystanders and loved ones determine if a loved one has a potential head injury and concussion. Called the “HEADS UP” app, you can download it for free here. The app works to give details on symptoms and signals that there is possible head injury and what to do if it appears there is a concussion or head injury.


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured with a concussion or traumatic brain injury while wearing a helmet, then knowing the potential contribution of that helmet to the injuries sustained in the accident will be vital.

Not only are helmets products that are regulated by product liability and defective design laws, the fact that improper helmets were provided may be a contributing cause in a negligence case seeking medical care expenses and other forms of personal injury damage.

Be careful out there!

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