Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Protect Your Melon!

This morning I was reading the "Letters to the Editor" page in the June 25th issue of The Chronicle of the Horse and two letters from readers dicussing Irish show jumper Denis Lynch's recent fall really resonated with me. (If you weren't aware, Lynch fell off while riding helmetless during his victory lap after a recent win and was knocked unconscious. While being knocked unconscious is not a visible injury like a broken arm or leg, the fact is it still means you've done some damage to your brain.)

I experienced my own really nast fall late last summer. Thnkfully, I was wearing a helmet, which no doubt saved my life, or at least my quality of life. Thing is, I gave myself quite the conusion even though I was wearing a helmet and was never unconscious, and I'm still feeling the effects of that concussion today, almost a year later.

I'm on a business trip, and I can tell you the effects of my concussion are still obvious in my client interactions. While speaking I often find it difficult to access the right words, or finish a sentence. My memory is not what it used to be. My ability to do math, never great to begin with, is now downright abysmal. In short, it takes me much longer to process things that I used to process in the blink of an eye, which, as you can imagine, is a bit frustrating and a challenge professionally.

The doctor says all of this is normal. Things have improved tremendously since the fall, but today's normal isn't the normal of 10 months ago. I can't even imagine what my life would be had I not been wearing a helmet.

Enough preaching. I recognize we all have a right to make decisions regarding our own personal health. However, reading those letters just prompted me to share some of the things I'm dealing with, just in case it resonates with someone and ultimately helps.


  1. I'm recovering from a concussion I received a month ago - courtesy of an unanticipated dismount where I hit the dirt hard. I didn't lose consciousness, but my vision was blurry for 10 or 15 minutes afterwords as I got back on and rode it off. Thankfully I was wearing my helmet. You never know what could happen.

    I read a blog post recently where the writer stated that she thought wearing helmets made people act less cautious and therefore more vulnerable to injury. (really?!)

    What about being so confident in your riding skills that you forgo wearing a helmet...

  2. I will admit that it never occurred to me that a concussion suffered from a fall with a helmet would have such lasting negative effects! My helmet is "expired", and your post is propelling me to go get a new one, even though it isn't quite in the budget right now. Thanks for sharing, and I hope your memory continues to improve.

  3. Thanks for sharing this... We can not stress the importance of helmets too much. I too read those Letters to the Editors and couldn't agree with them more... it was not minor... He lost consciousness...

    {{{Mumbling forever... not minor}}}}

  4. I hate that you are still dealing with issues from your fall, but I also admire your strength and fortitude for still keeping at it. There is no reason to ride helmetless, none at all. Riders should bring a ballcap to wear after riding to cover helmet hair, and stop making excuses. No rider can anticipate what will happen. More importantly; you never heat stories of someone stating "gosh, I wish I had not had my helmet on!" after an accident.

  5. I recently had a bad fall in which my helmet saved my head... and it still sucked. I can only imagine how much worse it could have been.

  6. One of my favorite maxims about helmet use: If you don't think your brain is worth protecting, you're probably right.

    Hope your brain continues its progress ;-)

    1. LOL! Love that one, Bif! I may use that, with your permission, of course. :) Thanks for the good wishes -- keeping fingers crossed!