Why It’s Deadly, Not ‘Cool,’ To Refuse To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet


Posted on 17th April 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Why don’t some motorcyclists wear helmets?

 How can you expose yourself in an open vehicle — traveling at high speeds — and not worry about the damage you would sustain if you were propelled like a missile and hit your head?

 Is it the “cool” factor, the macho factor, that makes people shun helmets?

 Jayne Zabrowski, my talented and indispensable paralegal, got a little first-hand insight into the helmet issue recently, on the banks of Lake Michigan.

 Here’s her story in her own words:

 I met a guy walking his dog on the beach yesterday. We started talking about things and motorcycles came up.  I asked if he wore a helmet when he rode.  

 He said, “No.”  

 I asked, “Why not?”

 His response: “When I don’t wear a helmet and I am riding my motorcycle, I feel like the coolest guy around. When I wear a helmet, I feel like I am a big weenie.”

 I responded: “No, you are a big weenie when you are lying intubated in a hospital bed with a brain injury because you thought you were too cool.”

 Jayne realizes that the man she encountered may have been taken aback by her tough-love comments.

 “But as I was thinking about the conversation, I realized that is why many people don’t wear a helmet…whether it be biking, motorcycle riding,  skiing, etc….too ‘cool’ for a helmet,” Jayne said. “Maybe they should spend a day with a brain injury and see how ‘cool’ that feels.”     

 Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger thought he was cool. Several years ago he made headlines when he almost died after being thrown from his motorcycle and hitting his head. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.

 Now Roethlisberger is in the news again. In a disgraceful case, the quarterback allegedly brought an intoxicated college student into a bar’s bathroom and had relations with her, while his bodyguards kept her friends at bay outside the door.

 He won’t be charged criminally in the case, but the Steelers and National Football League are expected to take disciplinary action against him.

 Repeated brain injury, like the trauma from the bike accident and the four concussions that Roethlisberger sustained playing football, can change a person’s behavior. And not for the better.

 How cool is that?




Arizona Teen Dies From Brain Injury Sustained in Accident at 24-Hour Endurance Race


Posted on 3rd March 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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An 18-year-old youth was died Tuesday of brain trauma he sustained when he was hit by a car during a 24-hour endurance relay face this past weekend in Arizona. http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/2010/03/02/20100302brophy-teen-dies.html#

Robert Mayasich, a student at Brophy College Prep, passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center three days after he was transported by air from Arizona 74 west of Lake Pleasant.

He had been part of a 12-man team in a race from Prescott to Tempe. But he wasn’t running his part of the race when he was hit by a Toyota Camry Solara.

Arizona public safety officials could release a report on Mayasich’s fatal accident by the end of the week.

Those who participate in the 24-hour race are encouraged to wear reflective safety gear, like headlamps and reflectors.

Details On Measures the NFL Is Looking At To Limit Concussions


Posted on 22nd February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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No more three point stance? That will be the acid test as to whether the NFL is willing to put player safety first. Eliminate the three point stance and you change the nature of football. Oddly, the running game would likely be the biggest benefactor, which is a complete contrast to the direction the league has been going. It is hard to imagine a traditional defense without line men digging in to stop the run. Will the NFL force such an organic change in the way the game is played for player safety? I doubt it. Frankly, I am not even sure that such change would make a biomechanical difference.

But eliminating the three point stance is one of the rule changes being considered by the NFL and its players are considering rule changes to ward off concussions, according to a detailed account in The Washington Post.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/19/AR2010021902973.html Some of the other measures being discussed are barring helmet-to-helmet hits on all ball carriers; limiting off-season practice; and exemptions for players recovering from concussions.

The possible changes could be in place by next season, according to The Washington Post. The league is trying to put the kibosh on the number of concussions that players suffer.

Thom Mayer, the medical director for the players’ union, is quoted saying that he envisions a 20 percent to 25 percent drop in the number of practices with collisions between players being permitted.

The possible changes will be part of the agenda when the NFL competition committee and union reps are together in Indianapolis next week.

Some safety measures were already implemented by the NFL following congressional hearings in October, which took testimony on player concussions causing long-term memory-related problems.

Olympics Marred by Luger Death Before The Really Dangerous Sport Kicks Off, Snowboarding


Posted on 16th February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Observers feared that daredevil snowboarders might wind up dead at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, pounding their skulls while attempting death-defying feats in the competition. But it was the luge sport that right out of the gate turned the games “into a gallows,” as one sportswriter out it.

And Olympic officials appeared more concerned about covering their asses than addressing the why of what happened.

This weekend there were many eloquent stories in the national press about the cowardice of the sports officials who blamed Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian Luger killed at the Vancouver Olympics last week, for causing his own tragic death.

In its five-paragraph statement Friday, the International Luge Federation said that the Kumaritashvili came out of a curve and “did not compensate properly…there was no indication that the accident was caused by deficiencies in the track.”


There was no mention of the fact that the steel pillar that the 21-year-old luger slammed his back into at racetrack speeds wasn’t padded, or that Olympic lugers were terrified of the track.

The New York Times did a Page One story Sunday on that topic, headlined “Fast and Risky, Sledding Track Drew Red Flags.”


Also on Sunday, The Times blasted the luge federation for its findings in a story headlined “Quick to Blame in Luge, and Showing No Shame.”


“Olympic officials treated the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luge athlete, less as a tragedy than as an inconvenience,”
The Times wrote.

Back injuries aren’t the only thing to anticipate with these luge races. Last week a Romanian, Violeta Stramaturaru was knocked unconscious on Thursday and taken to a hospital after slamming into a wall several times.


Here’s the best summation we read of the tragedy over the weekend, by New York Daily News sports columnist Filip Bondy.


“In the end, it wasn’t the halfpipe or the freestanding aerials that turned the Winter Olympic into a gallows,” he wrote Saturday. “It was as slippery-sloped luge track, designed by someone who didn’t know the sport and nurtured by a system that reward outrageous risk-taking.”

The New York Times Saturday said in a Page One story that the Georgian’s death “casts a pall” over the Winter games.


On the sports pages that same day, The Times noted that the Winter Olympics have “had ample adversity and controversy,” from too-little snow “and doping” scandals, “but genuine tragedy has been a rarity.

Prompted by last week’s death, Olympics officials have taken steps to make the luge track safer. For example, they have moved the men’s start line farther down the track.

We’ll see if that helps – and hold our breath for when the supposedly really dangerous competition starts: snowboarding.