Concussions

Science writer/editor Elizabeth Lopatto suffered one in a bicycle accident, and wrote about it.

8 comments on this post.
  1. Jon:

    Structurally, as a writer, I want to put some kind of moral here to send my reader off happy. I actually spent weeks thinking: what is the lesson?

    The moral lesson is to keep your bike out of traffic. You’re a hazard to everyone involved.

  2. Bradoplata:

    I got several concussions from football and fighting when I was a kid. It didn’t hurt my feelings when my son didn’t play.

  3. David Spain:

    Great article. I felt really bad for her. OTOH I have to agree with Jon, motor vehicles and bicycles are a lethal combo.

    What I *really* want to rant about are bicycle helmets. Yeah, it was good she was wearing one, maybe. A wet sack of rice tied to her head would have been just as effective. Recently I had the unfortunate experience of assisting at a bicycle accident on a rural roadway that according to eyewitnesses claim the rider had accidentally locked up his front brake and did a forward flip onto the pavement. From his injuries, besides a broken upper lip and possible jaw fracture he had also managed to fracture his skull just above the left eye. In other words all that wonderful high-tech bike helmet he was wearing at the time was useful for was holding his brain in place so that it did not ooze out the fracture. But as far as head protection goes? Anywhere from the hairline down, forget it.

    Except for the highest end of the speed ranges most modern bicycles can easily attain speeds well within those of motorcycles on city streets, yet helmet requirements in most states are far more stringent for motorcycles. At least with the full coverage a motorcycle helmet gives, one is far far less to fall victim to a frontal injury at speeds you’d obtain on a bicycle. But for some reason, we don’t have this with bicycles? If you are an avid cyclist, I urge you to carefully consider your headgear. Not saying cyclists should wear motorcycle helmets, but there must something available out there that can provide better protection for your head than just your toupee.

  4. Bilwick:

    I grew up watching western and detective television shows in which someone (usually Tonto) was getting knocked out by a rap on the head (usually a pistol-butt). I didn’t find out until later that what poor Tonto was getting repeatedly were concussions, and that in real life he and all the other knocked-out heroes of the small screen wouldn’t have recovered that quickly. In fact (or so I’ve read) the first thing they would have done upon regaining consciousness would be vomiting.

  5. MfK:

    For most of the time between age 8 and 18, my bicycle was my primary mode of transportation. In fact, at 18, I took to riding it 60 miles a day (my legs were such that girls would whistle when I wore shorts! Ah, the days!).

    I never wore a helmet, and had only one spill where a car turned in front of me (it was nasty, but didn’t involve the head). I tend to think that the risks of helmetless riding of bicycles are overblown, and the advantages of helmeted riding of motorcycles equally overblown. In neither case would the presence or absence of a helmet make much difference. The reason I think this is that I, and millions upon millions of kids my age, are still around despite never having either kind of helmet.

    That said, this was a great article. Thanks for the link, Rand.

  6. Rand Simberg:

    It came via a young (sort of leftist) woman whom on Twitter I follow because she once solicited (and ran) a piece, or AMA, or something from me for some publication that I now forget. She tweeted it because her dad wrote it.

  7. Rand Simberg:

    Oh, wait. I was talking about the British cars article, not this one. But I’ve been following Elizabeth for years. I was very sorry that she was so injured, despite our political differences.

  8. MfK:

    She’s an exceptionally good writer, and I’m glad that, despite political differences, you linked this.