10 Things to Remember about Helmets

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10 Things to Remember about Helmets

Approximately 20% of accidents which result in head injury happen while the person is on the ground.

Photo: Thinkstock

Today, July 12, marks the 5th annual Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day (IHAD). Once again, Riders4helmets has teamed up with leading manufactures to offer special discounts on safety headgear. Hundreds of retailers in Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland, and the United States, are joining in the cause.

The Riders4Helmets campaign was founded as a direct result of dressage Olympian Courtney King-Dye’s accident from which she suffered brain injury and left her in a coma for several weeks. She was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and is still undergoing rehabilitation.

“The impact that Riders4Helmets is making makes my struggle worthwhile,” said King-Dye, who advocates for helmet safety in partnership with Riders4Helmets. “It’s educating people to not make the same mistake that I did.”

As 2014’s IHAD nears, Lyndsey White, of Riders4Helmets, shared these 10 important points all riders should remember on a daily basis:

  1. If you've a hard impact blow while wearing your helmet, immediately get a new helmet. There could be damage to the helmet that is not visible to the naked eye.
  2. Helmet manufacturers generally recommend replacing your helmet every four to five years. Helmets take a beating over time from sweat, heat, dust, and rain, and the Styrofoam in the helmet relinquishes its ability to protect the head over time. “So, replacing your helmet sooner than four to five years may in some circumstance be necessary,” said White.
  3. A ponytail or different hairstyle can affect your helmet's fit. When you try on helmets prior to purchase, wear your hair in the style that you expect to wear it when riding.
  4. If you purchase your helmet online, check the date of manufacture. Purchasing a used helmet can be very risky and is not recommended. The helmet may have sustained previous damage that you aren’t able to see.
  5. There is no statistical correlation between skill level and injury likelihood. Professional riders are just as at risk to sustain injury due to a fall as less experienced or frequent riders.
  6. Even a fall from a standing horse can be catastrophic. Your injury risk depends on the height from which fall, as well as the speed at which you're traveling.
  7. Head injuries are cumulative. An original head injury can be made much worse by additional concussions.
  8. Riding is considered more dangerous than downhill skiing and motorcycling.
  9. Approximately 20% of accidents which result in head injury happen while the person is on the ground. 
  10. It is best if you invest in your own helmet regardless of whether or not you own a horse. "It is a personal purchase. Your helmet is designed to fit your head," reminds White. As incorrectly fitting helmet offers very little, to no protection. In addition to wearing a correctly fitting helmet, you must have the harness correctly fastened on your helmet. If the harness is not fitting snugly, the helmet can rotate should you have a fall and thus not be able to protect your head to its fullest intention.

Riders looking to purchase a helmet can visit Riders4Helmets.com/ihad to find retailers near them who are participating in IHAD.

For more information on the Riders4Helmets campaign and IHAD, visit Riders4Helmets.com. You can also follow the campaign on social media at facebook.com/Riders4Helmets, twitter.com/Riders4Helmets, instagram.com/Riders4Helmets, and pinterest.com/Riders4Helmets/. Use #ihad to share your photos and updates.

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