Helmets Protect Motorcyclists From Cervical Spine Injury

Riders are 20 percent less likely to suffer cervical spine injury if wearing a helmet

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Motorcyclists who wear helmets are less likely to suffer a cervical spine injury after a collision, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Joseph G. Crompton, M.D., of the University of California School of Medicine in Los Angeles, and colleagues investigated the effect of wearing motorcycle helmets on the risk of suffering a cervical spine injury after a motorcycle collision. They reviewed 40,588 motorcycle collision cases between 2002 and 2006 from the National Trauma Databank and analyzed the independent effect of helmets on cervical spine injury.

The researchers found that, after controlling for potential confounders, riders wearing helmets were 20 percent less likely to suffer a cervical spine injury than were nonhelmeted riders. Helmeted riders also had a reduced likelihood and prevalence of traumatic brain injury and death compared to those without helmets.

"This finding challenges a long-standing objection to mandatory helmet use that claims helmets are associated with cervical spine injury. Re-enactment of the universal helmet law should be considered in states where it has been repealed," the authors write.

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