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By now we are all familiar with the untimely passing of actress Natasha Richardson. While her death is undoubtedly tragic, it should also serve as a stark reminder all head injuries should carefully monitored. What’s more, many injuries can be avoided or minimized by a few simple safety measures.

We frequently discuss traumatic brain injuries in the context of car accidents. As Ms. Richardson’s case illustrates, sporting activities are another major cause of brain injuries. She suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage after falling on a beginner’s ski slope. Although Ms. Richardson laughed off the accident and acted normal immediately following her tumble, her condition rapidly declined. She was not wearing a helmet at the time of her fall.

Obviously, skiing is not the only recreational activity that poses a threat of brain injury. Almost any sport or hobby has the potential to cause serious injury. This is what makes Ms. Richardson’s case so unusual – she was not flying down the mountainside at top speed or taking unnecessary risks (as far as anyone knows at this time). Instead, she was taking a private lesson on an easy hill. Her story goes to show us that seemingly innocuous situations can hide incredibly grave dangers.

The sun has come out, the weather is starting to warm up, and Spring is settling in. Many people who have spent the Winter months indoors are finally getting out and engaging in their outdoor hobbies. But before we get back on our bikes or back on the baseball diamond, we should stop a moment to think about using a helmet.

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