Almost everyone I know already wears a helmet, some of them thanks to me. The people I know who don't wear helmets tend to be western riders. I live in cowboy country (believe it or not), and most of the folks in my area don't wear a helmet. That got me thinking. Maybe the helmet awareness groups need to tweak their campaign a little because it seems as though a large segment of riders aren't embracing the notion that helmets save lives - or at least prevent brain damage.
At school, we deal with a lot of kids who don't always make good decisions. They flip over stuff, jump off stuff, and try their best to prove they are indestructible no matter how often that we remind them they are not. The posters are to remind the staff that a bump on the head can be more serious than just a goose egg.
I am a pretty big NASCAR fan. We watch the race every weekend. My husband roots for Bakersfield native, Kevin Harvick, while I root for the #48, Jimmie Johnson. Along with most NASCAR fans, I am also a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan. For those who don't follow the sport, Earnhardt took a few good hits over the course of a couple of weeks earlier in the season.
If you don't follow NASCAR, you probably don't know about the MANY safety features built into those cars. Much of those came as a result of Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s death while racing at Daytona in 2001. Drivers wear helmets and are locked into position with a HANS device - among many other safety features. Even with all of his safety gear, Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a concussion that is severe enough that he voluntarily pulled himself from racing for the remainder of the season.
Dale has been very public about his condition which I think makes him an even better role model than before. If someone as blue collar and testosterone driven as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is willing to talk about the dangers and lasting effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), the helmet awareness people need to get HIM as a spokesman. That might get the attention of our non-helmet wearing friends.
Dale Jr. is the perfect guy to lead the drive toward embracing the concept that every concussion deserves a discussion. Maybe that would encourage more riders to wear helmets.