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The Natasha Richardson Tragedy & the Importance of Helmets

| by Dr Gwenn

At the health club today, Natasha Richardson's
ski accident earlier this week was the talk of the pool and locker
room. From wondering if reports of her brain death were true to
expressing sympathy for her family, people were clearly trying to make
sense of a situation that doesn't really make sense based on what we've
been told so far.

Right now there are many conflicting reports
and no official details about what Richardson's true medical condition
is but the situation does not sound hopeful. We really can't say with
certainty whether the fall caused the traumatic brain injury or whether
the fall was secondary to some other medical event. Given the agony her
family is in today, none of that may matter at the moment. Although, as
one pool goer said "I hope for her boys' sake something else was going
on - at least they won't have to live knowing this may have been preventable
if their mom had been wearing a helmet." I would have to say I echo
that concern and do wonder if the time has come for helmets to be more
mandatory on slopes everywhere.

Stories like this make us all
nervous, especially for our children. We begin to worry about issues of
sport safety, in this case skiing, and equipment safety, such as
helmets. We worry about missing symptoms that if caught early may make
the difference in our child's health. We start to get nervous any time
our child has a hit to the head or an accident participating in sports.

Tomorrow's podcast, A Dose of Dr. Gwenn,
has been scheduled to be about youth sports for a while but given this
week's tragedy to Natasha Richardson I'll be adding more on sports
safety and concussions. As a reminder, Bob Bigelow, former NBA player, youth sports expert, and author of "Just Let The Kids Play", will be one to join in the discussion. Tune in at 4pm EST. As always, I'll be talking calls and there will be a live web chat going on.

Of
all the topics we talked about at the pool today, do you know what the
most talked about one was? How fragile life is and can change in the
blink of an eye. Perhaps the small things in life we stress about are
really not as important as we make them out to be all the time.

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Click here for more on Natasha Richardson.

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