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A Summertime Message: Save Your Brain, Use a Helmet

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Wellness

Sutter Health, Doctors and Hospitals, Northern California www.sutterhealth.orgBy Jennifer Nuovo M.D., Chief Medical Officer

One evening not so long ago, a car hit my daughter while she was riding her bicycle to her college campus. The car’s driver was making a left turn onto the campus and didn’t see her. Thrown from her bicycle, my daughter smacked her head on a rock and lost consciousness for a few minutes. Several hours, a trip to the emergency room, stitches for the big gash in her head, a CT scan, and concussion later, my daughter was fortunate enough to go home. Her bicycle did not fare as well—it was a mangled mess.

My daughter was very lucky given that she was not wearing a helmet. It could have been much worse. Serious head injuries can result in permanent disabilities, such as impaired thinking, memory loss, vision and hearing impairments, chronic headaches, slurred speech, and even personality changes. If she had been wearing a helmet, chances are good that she would have skipped the concussion and stitches.

With summer coming, more of us are outside on bicycles, riding for exercise, recreation and commuting to work. For those riding a bicycle, remember you have the same rules as any motor vehicle on the road. Follow the rules of the road, pay attention and wear a helmet no matter how experienced of a rider you may be. These actions will reduce the risk of an accident and of serious head injuries if an accident happens. When behind the wheel of any type of motor vehicle, remember you share the road with bicyclists.