Concussion has been a hot topic in the news lately. In youth sports, several states recently passed laws requiring coaches to be educated about concussions and kids with suspected concussions to be stopped from practice or playing until they receive medical clearance.

In football alone, there are 100,000 concussions per year. Whether you’re an Olympian, high school athlete or simply sledding in the park, helmets are essential safety gear.

When buying a helmet, it’s important to remember a few guidelines:

  • Make sure the helmet fits and your kids know how to put it on correctly. The risk of head injury doubles if the helmet is worn wrong.
  • Helmets are made for specific activities (like skiing or football), so be sure you buy the right one. All helmets have warning labels on them about appropriate use. When in doubt, ask a trained professional for help.
  • Be sure the helmet meets or exceeds safety standards.

For sports like hockey, facemasks have been shown to help prevent injuries too. Full-cage facemasks or those with visors are better than the half-visor style because they decrease the force of the impact during a collision.

Although no helmet can prevent all concussions, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.

Winners wear helmets. Enjoy the Olympics and go USA!

-Brian R. Butler, DPT, ATC/L, Physical Therapy, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Clinics-Greenway

Learn more about Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin at


TLC for your brain: Wear a helmet — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for a great post Brian. It’s important for everyone to remember that as of now, there is no good scientific evidence that any specific brand of helmet is better than others at reducing the risk of concussion. Many companies are creating “concussion proof” or “concussion reducing” helmets, but don’t have evidence to back up those claims. The newer helmets are no worse than previous helmet models, but these helmets are significantly more expensive. While, I hope that research proves some of the newer actually do decrease concussion risks.

    In the meantime, it is important to follow Brian’s guidelines on helmet fit and use. It is also very important to remember proper technique when tackling (no spearing or leading with the head).

  2. Safety gears are a definite must when undertaking any type of sports. But as Kevin said, be aware that there’s no helmet that has been proven to be truly “concussion proof”. Don’t get ripped off paying triple for the “superior technology”.