Well get ready, here comes my complete unbiased opinion on helmet use..
As an emergency services provider for nearly 15 years (where does the time go?) I must strongly advocate the use of helmets in all types of riding sports, not only those dastardly motorcycles. Skateboarders, equestrian sports, rollerblades, bicycles, are all to be included in that group of "high risk" brain injury sports. If you look at the anatomy of you brain and skull, there is only a thin fluid filled space between the brain and the skull to cushion any type of blow to the head. It does not take much of a jolt at all to lead to brain injury of irreversable damage. Oh did I mention that when you injure or damage a brain cell, they do not "grow back"? Granted we do not use all of our brain cells (some less then most) we probably want to protect the ones that are doing something important, like breathing! Any advantage you can give your head is one that can make the difference of living a full life or being fed by tubes.
Granted the person who crashes thier motorcycle at 130 MPH has a poor prognosis for not being injured in the first place, however, the same person without the helmet is 100 or more times likely to die as a result of the crash.
Now I know there are those who claim that this is an individual choice and that "I have insurance" that will cover them should they be injured. Guess what - that is living in a fantasy world. This impacts us all as a huge matter of public health. So ok, lets talk insurance. Auto insurance covers the first $1000 - well with the ambulance ride and ER charge, thats gone. "I/my spouse has health insurance through work" you say. OK, after a year (or less) of not working, your insurance will no longer care for you, and just try to get insurance with a pre-exisiting condition of serious debilitating brain injury. "So then I'll go on medicare/medicaid." Fine, seems like a good plan to me. However, you need to realize, the ambulance, hospitals, doctors offices, and clinics only gets about 1/3 from medicare or medicaid what it actually costs to care for a patient. Where do you think the rest of the money comes from? Well from you and me through our taxes, and skyrocketing healthcare and insurance costs, thats where. Where do you think your family is going to come up with the money once your insurance runs out? It breaks my heart everytime I see a collection jar at the gas station for us to "help cover the costs" of Joe Blow's extended hospital stay. Frankly, there are insurance providers that will not cover the long term costs of rehabilitation becuase of an injury of this type. Sure its your choice.
So while you lie at Golden Age Nursing Home (or worse yet, have to visit or care for someone who is), with your food going in one tube and your wastes coming out another for the rest of your natural life (what are you now 30 - 40? Life expectancy is 72-76 for a male these days), you then can tell me that helmet use is not going to save anything.
Of course thats just my opinion, I may be wrong..
<small>[ July 18, 2003, 08:01 PM: Message edited by: MedicDVG ]</small>
*** The opinions expressed herein are uniquely MY OWN and should not be construed as an endorsement of any sort by my employers or of any professional associations to which I hold membership. I can dig myself into holes just fine without their help, thank you very much***