While often viewed as a safe and fun activity, bicycling can also be extremely dangerous. In fact, information recently released by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons showed that out of the estimated 447,000 sports-related brain injuries, about 86,000 were related to bicycle accidents. This number is compared to the roughly 47,000 associated with the more publicized football head and brain injuries.
In short, riding a bicycle should be considered a dangerous sport. Whether for pleasure or out of necessity, individuals who choose to ride a bicycle should always wear a helmet. During 2009, 90 percent of reported bicycle accidents involved bicyclists who were not wearing a helmet, the majority of which involved men in their mid-40s.
Individuals involved in bicycle accidents often sustain serious injuries which have long-lasting implications. In cases where an individual is not wearing a helmet, a head or brain injury is highly likely. Not only can a brain injury be fatal, but it can also result in an individual suffering short-term memory loss, being paralyzed or suffering cognitive impairments.
In many cases, brain damage sustained in bicycle accidents is irreversible and permanent. What's more, doctors are often unable to provide an accurate prognosis as brain injuries and how they manifest and present varies widely. Often, individuals who suffer a brain injury are forced to undergo months of rehabilitative and physical therapy.
Such immediate and ongoing medical care is extremely costly. What's more a brain injury often prevents an individual from returning to work and may result in a permanent disability. For these reasons, it's wise for individuals of every age to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. A bike helmet is the best and most effective way to avoid suffering a life-altering brain injury.
Source: The New York Times, "Really? Cycling Is the Top Sport for Head Injuries," Anahad O'Connor," June 3, 2013
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