A University of Iowa study examined data causing personal injury to Iowans between 2002 and 2006. Today we examine the findings regarding helmet versus not wearing a helmet while riding on a motorcycle.  Those not wearing a helmet are 2.3 times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injury than riders with helmets.  Average hospital charges were 1.5 times greater for those who were involved in an accident and not wearing a helmet.

The riders without helmets suffered more severe injuries. Eleven percent suffered moderate traumatic brain injury as opposed to six percent for those wearing a helmet.  That is an increase of 1.8 percent greater TBI without a helmet.

Following a motorcycle crash the rider with a helmet can expect 17 out of every hundred to suffer a TBI. As contrasted with non-helmeted riders having 32 TBI’s out of every 100 accidents. That is a 1.9 times higher rate of TBI’s for those not wearing a helmet.

I’m critical of this study because TBI and head injury were not defined and there isn’t really a good way of measuring the extent of TBI. First what is a head injury and what is traumatic brain injury? All head injuries do not result in traumatic brain injury. In the case of motorcycle accidents and wrecks a head injury is simply injury to the head. A traumatic brain injury is trauma to the head that results in a brain injury.  If I knocked your head with my hand you have suffered a head injury. But you don’t have traumatic brain injury. What criteria did they use would be important to know.  Without this information the findings are not very useful.

This story is also covered by Radio Iowa.

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