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Helmet Use Cuts Head Injuries in Youth in ATV, Dirt Bike Crashes

Last Updated: October 15, 2021.

FRIDAY, Oct. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Helmet use among children involved in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and dirt bike crashes is associated with reduced odds of adverse neurological outcomes, according to a study published online Oct. 12 in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

Jackson H. Allen, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues analyzed data from one pediatric trauma center on all pediatric patients involved in ATV or dirt bikes crashes between 2010 and 2019. The associations between helmet status and the primary outcomes of neurosurgical consultation, intracranial injury, and moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (MSTBI) were examined among 680 patients (34 percent helmeted).

The researchers found unhelmeted patients more often had head imaging performed (70.9 percent versus 48.3 percent among helmeted patients). Unhelmeted patients more often had MSTBI (8.0 versus 1.7 percent) and neurosurgical consultation (26.2 versus 9.1 percent). Furthermore, unhelmeted patients more often had neurosurgical injuries including intracranial hemorrhage (16 versus 4 percent) and skull fracture (18 versus 4 percent). Overall, 2.7 percent of unhelmeted patients required neurosurgical procedures. With the exception of one helmeted patient (0.4 percent) who required placement of an intracranial pressure monitor, no other neurosurgical procedures were required by helmeted patients. Helmet use significantly reduced the odds of neurosurgical consultation, intracranial injury, and MSTBI after adjustment for confounding variables (odds ratios, 0.250, 0.172, and 0.244, respectively).

"Serially updating the literature on public health topics is critical in order to reinvigorate efforts to improve injury prevention. We hope the results of this study can do just that," one coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed ties to BlinkTBI.

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