Posted by Jim Taylor on Jan 21, 2019


If you have a bicycle helmet, how old is it?   Magda Kapp, Director of Prevention Services at Braintrust Canada, told the club Thursday morning that if it’s more than three years old, it probably won’t protect your head properly in an accident or a crash.


And if it has ever been in an accident, or even dropped on the floor, you probably should replace it anyway.  Her concern is preventing brain injuries such as concussion, although she did promise to come back at some time in the future to talk about treatment of concussion, and the tasks of caregivers.


Concussion is a long-term problem. Kapp pointed out that hockey star Sidney Crosby took a whole year off to recover from his last concussion. It’s commonly said that boxer Mohammed Ali suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, but more likely his tremors resulted from repeated blows to his head.


Concussion used to be taken for granted, as part of growing up. Of course kids will run into posts; of course sports teams will bash heads. But brain injuries are not something to be shrugged off. An accident in your youth can affect you for the next 60 years, with learning difficulties, personality changes, headaches, etc. Brain injuries can affect ability to walk, to taste, to hear, to smell....and 90% of these injuries are preventable, Kapp insisted. Proper helmets alone can reduce brain injury by 85%.


Unlike tumours and brain diseases like meningitis, concussions tend to affect the frontal lobes of the brain, the areas we use for reasoning and wisdom. When they get damaged, you are not the same person you once were. You may say, or do, inappropriate things in company. You may lose friends. You may lose your driver’s licence.


Kapp was scornful of parents who make their children wear helmets but don’t wear helmets themselves. “What they’re actually teaching their kids is to think, ‘When I grow up, I won’t have to wear a helmet’.”


Because protection for your head is so important, she recommends that you do not buy a helmet at a low-price retail store and definitely not a used helmet at a yard sale! The crushable material that protects your brain from getting bounced around inside your skull degrades over time. The helmet also needs to be properly fitted to your skull, using the foam-fitting materials that come with it.


Take care of your brain. It’s the only one you’ve got!




This Thursday’s speaker will be Luke Stack, Kelowna City Counsellor and a member of the Society of Hope that is building affordable houses for seniors and others in Lake Country.