In cases where a bike rider suffered a TBI from a fall or crash caused by someone else’s negligence but the rider was not wearing a helmet, the defense will always claim that but for the rider’s failure to wear a helmet the TBI would not have occurred. Sometimes this is blatantly false, as where the impact occurs to the rider’s face, a place that no helmet covers. But what about cases where the impact occurs to a place on the rider’s head that would have been covered? Can any helmet prevent a concussion? One of American’s leading experts on the neurological effects of head trauma in sports, Dr. Barry D. Jordan of the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in NY, says no.
In an interview with The Guardian here is what Dr. Jordan said when asked whether improved helmet design for NFL players had helped reduce concussions, “Probably not, because there is no concussion proof helmets. The mechanism of a concussion is really rapid acceleration deceleration of the head and the head will accelerate or decelerate regardless if you have a helmet on or not. The helmet is helpful in protecting against more serious brain injuries such as intracranial hemorrhages and skull fractures. There is no concussion proof helmet.” While I am in favor of bicycle riders ALWAYS wearing a helmet, even on a two minute trip to the corner grocery store, it’s important to remember that no helmet can completely protect the brain from trauma.