American professional football players do wear helmets but that has not saved some of them from suffering severe head trauma and subsequent problems after they retire such as Parkinson's disease and ALS and Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia at relatively early ages. Yesterday it was reported that the NFL and lawyers for more than 4,000 former players, who said the league hid from them the dangers of repeated hits to the head, have agreed on the details of a $760 million settlement in compensation for retirees with head trauma.
And a week ago, the former Formula One racing car driver, Michael Schumacher, was in a skiing accident where he hit his head on a rock, the impact reportedly splitting open his helmet. Schumacher is still in a medically induced coma with his prognosis uncertain.
So people who get hit on the head while wearing a helmet can still get hurt.
But that's not an argument for not wearing a helmet. Or is it?
I raise the issue again because someone recently left a comment on a 2011 post of mine Kids Look Cool Sailing in Helmets. The initial comments (from older folk mainly) were somewhat dismissive of the idea of helmets in sailing.
"Helmets are for the sissies and the uncool," said one reader.
"Kids look cool sailing when they learn to freaking duck. If they can't do that, then maybe Nanny should not let them out on the water," said another.
The recent comment was from MIT sophomore Robyn Lesh and I will repeat it here in its entirety and let you reflect on her message….
I have been sailing I was six days old. Big boats, small boats, all boats. I now race in college and was NESSA sailor of the week earlier this year. I know boats and am certainly not a sissy.
Last fall I got bumped on the head by an fj boom, not hard, not unlike other bumps like everyone has gotten from the boom at some point. Two hours later, I couldn't race worth ten cents. Two months later I am still concussed. I still can't think as clearly or as quickly as before and can not yet return to athletic activity.
Helmets are NOT stupid or uncool. They are safe. Save your brain and consider a helmet.
People who say helmets are uncool or dumb don't know how horrible a concussion is. Everything about YOU as a person is controlled by your brain. When you bruise your brain (concussion) everything from your smartness to your personality can be effected.
Think about it.