Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Noggin Protection

Whether it's skiing, cycling, rock climbing or white water rafting, wear a helmet when you head out. Not to be preachy, but not only will it protect your noggin but it could save your life.

I was shocked to read the news about Natasha Richardson's accident on the slopes at Mont Tremblant. I was even more shocked when People reported that it happened with a ski instructor and on a beginner run. I hoped that I'd find information that said Richardson was wearing a helmet but that wasn't the case. And with her condition listed as very serious--and the latest from People that has a friend saying she's brain dead--it's unfortunate that there was no helmet in use.

Even the New York Times has a story on the ski helmet debate. Michael Kennedy met his death on the slopes as did Sonny Bono. I've crashed on my road bike twice, broke a helmet both times, and know I probably wouldn't be here writing if I didn't have some protection.

I'm sure skiing examiners out there are posting like crazy on this one, but it's the helmet use that grabbed my attention. Helmets can be used in a variety of sports and can help prevent serious accidents from being worse off: taking a hard spill, crashing on the road, flipping over your handlebars, springing from a raft and hitting a rock. Sure the easy answer is to say, don't do these things, but for an endurance athlete, you can't exactly tell him or her to stay off the bike. There goes the triathlon season.

Protect yourself the next time you hit the road or trail and grab one of these helmets (depending on sport, of course):

  • Giro--makes helmets for skiing and cycling
  • POC--Julia Mancuso wore this brand during the 2006 Torino Olympics and the company is about to break into the bike market this season
  • Boeri--skiing helmets are this company's claim to fame; I've had mine for more than seven seasons
  • K2--this ski manufacturer makes a pretty cool helmet that integrates goggles and head protection without the all-too-common goggle strap
  • Bell--recreational riders and racers can find a cycling helmet to fit their needs here
  • Rudy Project--makes cycling helmets and has a coupon online to save 25 percent on a helmet purchase

There are still plenty of other helmet makers out there, but these are just a few to start shopping with. And one plus to wearing the helmet when you're skiing, on a cold day it keeps you warmer than a hat. In the meantime, my thoughts are out to Natasha Richardson and her family.

Picture: That's me and my husband with our helmets: he started wearing his after a crash that knocked him unconcious in 2000 and I went full-time in 2004 after getting it for racing season. As for the bike...I've cracked two helmets and don't leave home without one. Posted by Kate


  1. I've never worn a helmet skiing, but seeing all the skiers in helmets on my two recent trips to Colorado definitely made me think twice about buying one. And this Natasha Richardson tragedy closes the deal: I'm getting a helmet before I ski again.

  2. you forgot to mention how TS lost multiple teeth as well! oh, and i told megha i'm getting her a helmet next time we're skiing, no arguments...



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