Helmet Usage Recommendations

There are many ways to avoid traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions.  As discussed on the “Concussions” page:

Among the most prominent ways to prevent a concussion is to wear a helmet…

Helmets can be used during many types of athletic activities.  Helmet use can provide notable safety benefits.  For instance, research indicates that wearing a bicycle helmet can be of great benefit in avoiding head trauma during a bicycle accident; one source has indicated “Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 87 percent…”  Research has shown similar benefits with regard to motorcycle helmet use.

While helmet use is valuable, helmets must meet a variety of criteria for maximum effectiveness.  These various aspects of helmet use are important to consider.

Given the range of sports helmets, as well as other helmets such as those used in motorcycling and in the military, it is difficult to address all considerations concerning helmets.  However, it appears that there are some important general factors involving helmet selection, usage, and care.

As seen on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Helmet Safety page (with videos concerning helmet fit and concussions), there are many types of helmets for various sports.  Helmets are available for baseball, bicycling, equestrian, football, hockey, lacrosse, skateboarding, skiing, and snowboarding, among others.  The CDC provides Fact Sheets for helmets for all of these sports.  Included in the fact sheets are:

  • Helmet sizing information
  • Helmet fit
  • Helmet care, including storage and cleaning
  • When to replace helmets
  • What to look for with regard to helmet certifications and other labels
  • Other sports-specific considerations

It is important to follow the recommendations, as the safety benefit of wearing a helmet may be impaired if the helmet fails to fit properly, is structurally deficient, or otherwise suboptimal.  As well, helmets need to consistently – and properly – worn.

Additional reference:

CDC Injury Center, “Sports Concussion Policies and Laws,” including “Return to Play” issues regarding sports concussions