When preparing for a day on the slopes, packing a helmet has become just as vital as the skis and snowboards. According to the National Ski Areas Association, more than 84 percent of all skiers and snowboarders are now wearing helmets, including 100 percent of kids age 9 and under.*
But while helmets go a long way to reducing the risk of head injury, they aren’t foolproof. Helmets must fit snugly and be strapped properly, and even then the possibility of a concussion remains.
As research reveals more and more about the long term impacts of traumatic brain injuries, from memory loss to increased suicide rates, it becomes clear that taking precautions before and after a head injury can be a life-changing decision.
Concussions can be difficult to diagnose, especially in children, which is why it’s important to get checked out if you suspect you or your child has suffered a head injury. This is just one reason Circle Health is the official healthcare provider for Nashoba Valley Ski Area, which is located just minutes away from Circle Health Urgent Care located at 198 Littleton Road in Westford.
Classic symptoms of a concussion include confusion, a prolonged headache, blurry vision, dizziness, nausea, impaired vision and sensitivity to light. These symptoms can last days, weeks or even months in some people. If the injured person suffers a second concussion before complete recovery from the first, much more serious and permanent damage, even death, can occur.
Bruce Cook, MD, FACS, a Lowell General Hospital neurosurgeon, says helmet protection shouldn’t take any season off.
“Helmets provide protection in decreasing the likelihood of concussion and other minor head injuries,” he says. “Though minor, these head injuries can have serious long-term consequences including diminished IQ and eventual dementia.”
*Stats updated for 2019. Source: National Ski Areas Association.