Recently, the American Medical Association recommended that those who participate in recreational and athletic activities should wear facial and head protection, no matter what sport or activity they enjoy most.
The goal of increased helmet use is to protect people from traumatic brain injuries that can alter the course of the rest of their lives. A suggestion like this from the AMA will encourage physicians to teach their patients about the importance of helmet use. In addition, it will hopefully encourage commercial recreational centers to have helmets on hand in order to protect their patrons.
These recommendations that encourage proper helmet use for a wide variety of activities could not come at a better time. Currently, 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries every year in the United States.
Some of the delegates of the American Medical Association feel these recommendations do not go far enough, however. The policy simply states that someone should wear a helmet for “any and all potentially dangerous recreational activities.” However, it does not then define which activities are considered “potentially dangerous.” Some of the delegates feel this is too broad, and without proper definition will not have an impact on society or the number of brain injuries that occur each year.
For now, though, the language will remain the same. At the same convention, the AMA also called for hockey officials to ban head hits and dangerous checking to help keep those players safe as well. The AMA hopes that these steps will begin to have a positive impact and help people recognize just how important head and face protection is when playing sports.
Source: American Medical News, “Helmets sought for wider range of sports and other activities,” Christine S. Moyer, July 2, 2012.