Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Helmet feedback so far

I love my readers and my friends, I really do, so just wanted to do a quick follow-up to last night's post. I actually have a pretty good helmet. It's green and hanging in the tack room right now, gathering dust. It's even fairly comfortable, though I'll let you all know how comfortable after I put it on today.

Thank you to both Kate and Suzanne for not pestering me before now. I am doing my research and you're right--while not the most common injury, head injuries are the most likely cause of death. 

And--while I agree with Kathy's comment about not caring since I'd be dead--I also agree with her and Kate's sentiment about not wanting those I care about to have to wipe drool off my chin. (AND sooo glad to hear from Kathy, by the way. Glad Bert is okay and you are both still riding!)

Imel, I may never convince Steve to wear a helmet, but I found a reference that likens riding risk to motorcycle riding--and he always wore a motorcycle helmet even before it was the law.

I do accept the risk of riding, and have the battle scars to prove it. I have two mounted injuries (arm and butt) and one unmounted injury (ribs). It's likely not an if but a when that I bounce my noggin on something. My noggin has to keep functioning for a lot of years--I can't retire for another 27 years--so risking mush-brain is risking a lot.

My friend Sasha--who has very personal experience with someone with a TBI--reminded me that even a full recovery may not lead to it being the same person they were before the injury. 

Your arguments are all very compelling and I truly, truly appreciate the feedback. It won't stop me from being irritated at the helmet-police on Facebook, but for my own personal thought-processes, this has been invaluable.


Tammy Vasa said...

I wear a helmet but the helmet police bug me, too. But so do the ones who don't wear a helmet and invite me to ride in an event but make it clear it is "western attire" so skip the helmet, please. Ah... no.

But when you do try it, don't try the old dusty one hanging in your barn. They make new ones that are much more comfortable. I buy a new one every year looking for a less dorky one and I finally found one that I think is really cool. Its a Aegis brand, $39, not round, more sleek. Actually, think I look pretty sharp, relatively speaking. :)

I wish I could say it hasn't saved my brain but it has. Even when I land on my butt, seems my head slams, too. I really need to learn how to fall. Cracked it a couple times and took it as a badge of honor, I guess. This past weekend, my mare got frightened of a pivot irrigation system and kind of wigged out. I didn't fall off but with all her jumping around she cracked me in the forehead with her head twice. And this is my good horse!

Last week or so on Ridecamp, an endurance list serv, a gentleman kept damning helmets - saying they gave us a false since of security. Even went as far as asking if the helmet companies guarantee we won't die? I thought he was a troll and didn't want to respond but I just couldn't help it. I'll am out of space here so will post my reply to that person in the next comments box.

Tammy Vasa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tammy Vasa said...


Long time reader; first time poster.

For the last several weeks, maybe longer, there have been some comments that those of us who wear helmets might be obtaining a false sense of security; that the helmets could be faulty and the oddest comment, if the helmet companies offer a "guarantee" we will not be injured or die. I felt these comments were odd and perhaps the poster was "trolling" for an argument. I wear a helmet and have never felt I had to justify wearing one. Frankly, I see more people justify why they don't than why they do. But it is a personal preference. In my pleasure riding community, I am an oddity wearing a helmet, most choose cowboy hats or ball caps. They don't make fun and I don't preach.

I do not buy a helmet thinking the manufacturer has guaranteed to save my life, no more than I think seatbelts and airbags are a guarantee from an automaker that I won't die. I wear a helmet to lessen the impact. I also choose to wear boots rather than flipflops because if my foot does get stepped on, the leather will serve as some protection. I wear pants instead of shorts to avoid chafing at the knees but still some jeans or even breeches will rub but I don't blame it on Levis. I wear my helmet if I am riding my best horse or if I am on a greenie. Crap happens.

It's assnine to think that every peice of safety equipment on the market, in our sport or others, will come with guarantees. We are smarter than that. Will a strap fail? will a helmet crack? Maybe. I have no statistics to back it other than my own, and for me, the helmet has worked 100% of the time. Did it crack? You betchya! But better than my head. I am sure my $40 investment saved me a couple ER visits and with a $5,000 deductible, that more than paid for itself many, many, many times over. As a mother, I watched my then 6 year old son get bucked off unexpectedly and thrown from the back of his horse. The impact slammed the back of his head to the ground and his helmet was cracked. He got up crying; not because he got hurt, but because the horse bucked him off! To those of you who are parents, I think you would agree that the helmet did its job.

I don't worry about my helmet aging out because they have so many cool models to choose from now that it seems I buy a new one every year. No one said us helmet heads couldn't make a fashion statement. I still have some old ones hanging in the tack room in the cob webs and dust. Curiously, I looked a few over yesterday and there was no dry rot in the straps nor rust. What an odd comment. I should probably throw them out but its fun to see the little helmets that my now teenaged and adult sons wore. And I show the cracks from our falls as an example of making a good decision.

To those of you who don't wear helmets or choose other headwear, its your choice. And if anyone wants to make fun of how I look, go for it. Doesn't bother me in the least. But I do take exception to those who say they provide a false sense of security or that there are defects that make them unsafe. No. That is not true. Those of us who have had an impact to our helmet will probably all tell the same story: That our injury would be much more severe had we not been wearing head protection.

Tammy Vasa said...

Not related to helmets, I am not sure I have read your blog before. Have enjoyed the last few posts and will be checking out your archives. :)

Anonymous said...

Glad you're thinking about it - go try on some of the cool new models in neat colors and see if you can find one with your name on it.

Tammy - I've heard those (remarkably stupid) comments from people who aggressively defend not wearing a helmet - I figure maybe it's evolution in action . . .

Grey Horse Matters said...

Just wanted to add that I know there are a lot of people out there who are totally against helmets. While I was reading Tammy's comment it reminded me of a person I encountered once. Back in April '09 I did what I thought was a pretty innocent post about helmets. This one guy took exception and let me have it 'big time'. So I felt obliged to do another post to answer him and then another ensued. I'm only sorry that a while ago I accidentally deleted my comments because there were many commenters who told their stories about how helmets saved them.

As I said I'm not the helmet police but I do feel it is safer to wear one. There are so many different styles out there. I got one for the summer with vents in it to keep you cooler. Glad you're considering wearing one too.

Jessica Boyd said...

Welcome to my noodlings, Tammy, and thank you for the great feedback!

I cannot believe that anyone actually uses the argument that the helmet companies guarantee we won't die. Seriously? Have they not read any warning labels and disclaimers the lawyers make everyone publish on everything lately? "Warning. This stick of gum could choke you if you inhale it and that is totally NOT our fault."

My helmet is actually a fairly new helmet--a Tipperary--and very stylish and (if I recall) fairly comfortable. It's only dusty because it's been in the tackroom unused for the most part.

I have worn it, and I remember it being pretty light and comfortable, but am also willing to shop some more if it isn't right.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Glad to hear you're rethinking the helmet issue. I was happy I made the choice to wear mine just a few months ago when my head slammed into the ground as I fell from my very safe, very calm horse.

Having recently encountered (hard headed) arguments about how helmets give the rider a false sense of security, I wonder how many no helmet falls that writer has had, to think that statement is logical?

Came across a quote recently about helmets:

"If you don't think your brain is worth saving, it probably isn't."

Most of us wear seat belts, and no one assumes doing so will prevent an accident. A helmet can mitigate traumatic brain injury. It's a quality of life issue, and those odds are good enough for me.