Quote of the Day - A football helmet gives you an awful lot of protection, ... but you don't have to be a doctor or an engineer or even a football player to realize that the helmet does not block out all the measured force produced when some 300-pound player with a hand the size of a Christmas ham whacks you in the head dozens of times a game, season after season.
My heart goes out to Liam Neeson and his family for the loss of his wife, Natasha Richardson, as well as Mary Bono for the loss of her husband, Sonny Bono, both to skiing accidents. Many other families have lost loved ones to skiing accidents and even more to bicycle, motorcycle and skating accidents.
Some deaths and severe injuries in each of those categories may have been prevented or lessened by the use of helmets. Many parents require their children to wear helmets while biking, skating and skiing. It's a good practice, despite the plainitive, "Aw Mom, do I have to?", which is almost immediately followed by a "If you want to live in my house, you'll follow my rules" response. I wear a helmet when I ride a bike and on my motorcycle, and my Mom doesn't have to tell me.
On the other hand, my skating and skateboarding is so bad that I don't have to worry about wearing a helmet because I won't be seen on either one. The world is a much safer place without me on a skateboard.
But I don't wear a helmet skiing.
Is that contrdictory? Hypocritical? I don't think so. Let me explain. Generally snow is much softer than pavement. For anyone who's skied on ice, however, there are exceptions to that rule. I don't think there's anything harder than ice other than my head, as my father used to claim when I was much younger.
But when it comes to ice, just like when I drive, I choose not to ski. I mean I also choose not to drive on ice because it's too slippery, not because it's hard - you know what I mean. When it comes to danger, I'm generally careful. But when it comes to skiing in the trees and over moguls, I charge right in. So in some instances, I choose danger, and in some instances I don't.
Here's what I've left out so far: I'm a ski instructor. Have been for more than thirty years. I teach expert level skiing, and I teach people how to ski in the trees and over moguls (at the same time). I also played football in high school and a bit in college. As a consequence of both, I generally don't fall a lot when I ski, and when I do, I have a sense of how to fall and not injure myself. But I don't wear a helmet skiing. If I got on a skateboard to learn it, however, I would wear a helmet. Now does it make sense?
While I don't know whether Natasha Richardson was an athlete, we do know she was taking a beginner ski lesson and fell. Likewise, I don't know about Sonny Bono's skiing ability. But skiing is a dangerous sport. It says so right there on the back of your ticket. In case you haven't read one in a while, stop right here. Put the computer down and go into the back of your closet and pull out your ski jacket. Look at the tag you've got clipped to your zipper. Flip it over and read. See? It says right there, you assume the risk of all injury.
So there you have it. Now you know. Just like riding a motorcycle, a bike, a skateboard or even going out on your inline or roller skates, skiing is a dangerous sport. If you're going to participate in a dangerous sport, especially where the danger outweighs your skills, then wear a helmet and be safe.
They don't call 'em brain buckets for nothing.