A sports history: the helmet.

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A cyclist wearing a helmet. PIXNIO

Giving new meaning to “having a good head on your shoulders.”

Who actually likes wearing a helmet? From the gross feeling of sweaty and sticky hair when you take it off to the added weight and potentially uncomfortable straps that just makes everything worse off, everyone has their reasons for not wanting to wear them. Whatever your reason, I can promise you it is not a good enough excuse for not putting one on.

Many sports now have the added requirement that players must adorn a helmet with the rest of their uniform to be allowed to take part in their desired activity. Although it now seems like a regular addition to the games we enjoy, it was not always. Here is what has changed.

Originally designed to be used by soldiers, helmets have wider purpose than protecting one in battle. In case of an accident in athletics, it has been found that wearing a helmet helps to spread the impact over a larger area, thus preventing direct impact with the skull. This helps to lessen the potential damage that can happen to an individual’s brain if struck. To ensure that you are using the correct helmet to prevent this harm, one must know the different types of protective wear available for them to use.

The first type of helmet is what is known as a single-use helmet. These are ones that are meant for a specific type of activity. This is one of the reasons why there are so many different variations of the same piece of equipment. Testing has been done to ensure that they are the most protective for the potential causes of impact in each activity. An example of such a helmet would be one used by batters in baseball games. These are not ones that can or should be used for different activities and it is important to ensure that you have on the correct helmet for the activity you intend to participate in.

There are helmets that are known as multiple-use helmets that also fit into this type. These can be used for a variety of different activities. An example of this would be the helmet that is worn when one is snowboarding and skiing. Due to the similarities that these sports share it allows for the individual to adorn the same protective equipment without fear. If you are ever unsure about if your helmet is one that can have multiple uses it will come with a certification sticker informing you of which activities it has been certified and designated for.

Another category of helmets are the impact types. The first is what is known as a single-impact helmet. As the name implies, they are designed to be the most effective for the first time of impact and only the first time. After that, it is strongly encouraged that you replace them as the protective aspect of the helmet would have been weakened with the impact and therefore will not be as effective if one were to be struck again. One that everyone is familiar with for this type is a bicycle helmet. Oftentimes these are not made for activities where one is likely to be struck repeatedly but rather for lower contact activities.

In order to care for those who take part in contact sports such as hockey or football and stand a higher chance of receiving multiple blows to the head, the multiple impact helmet was made. This way, one can protect their head while not having to break the bank purchasing a large supply of extra helmets. As a result, these helmets can withstand multiple impacts before losing their ability to protect. Even though this is the case it is still recommended to replace your old ones for newer ones after receiving a few strikes to ensure the highest protective ability.

Although it may seem silly and you may feel you don’t need to wear one for some of the activities that you take part in, it is definitely worthwhile to do so. It is better to have helmet hair than a head injury.

Sarah Nakonechny

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