Protection from traumatic brain injury by bicycle helmet


Wearing a helmet while cycling can prevent up to two-thirds of traumatic brain injuries.

Up to 270,000 people suffer a traumatic brain injury in Germany every year. 80 percent of patients are treated as inpatients in hospitals. Depending on the severity of the trauma, there may be transient dysfunction with brief loss of consciousness to severe dysfunction requiring intensive medical care and surgical therapy.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the head, skull, and brain caused by an external force. The injuries can be present individually or in combination – in any case, however, the brain is affected. Because of the risk of brain hemorrhage or other complications, hospital observation is recommended for all patients with traumatic brain injury.

In principle, any external force can be the cause. It can be direct violence, such as a hit to the head, but it can also be traffic accidents or falls. Accidents during leisure time and at home account for the majority of traumatic brain injuries, at 60 percent. More than 20 percent are the result of traffic accidents, and about 15 percent occur after accidents at work. Especially in young patients, traffic accidents are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury. Here, preventive measures can be taken to protect oneself. By selecting the right protective clothing, for example, wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle, up to two-thirds of traumatic brain injuries can be prevented. Even though the trend is moving in the right direction, too few bicycle helmets are still worn: the helmet rate was only 11 percent in 2011. Large databases show that severe traumatic brain injuries following a collision between a bicyclist and a car occurred mostly among non-helmet wearers.