Brain Injury Talking Points

Injuries resulting from bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and inline and roller skates account for more than 500,000 emergency department visits for children younger than 14 years.

Bicycle/Helmet Facts

  • Cycling is the No. 1 cause of injury to children ages 14 and younger. 
  • Head injury is the most common cause of serious disability and death in bicycle crashes.
  • Children ages 5 to 14 years are most at risk for a traumatic brain injury because of low helmet use in this age group. Only about half of these kids are estimated to use a helmet every time they ride a bike.
  • The most bicycle-related deaths occur among adolescents and young adults (15-19 years) and adults ages 40 years and older.
  • In 2014, 50 bicyclists 14 years of age and younger were killed and 6,000 were injured. On average, some 250 children die annually in bike crashes, and nearly 300,000 are treated in the emergency department.
  • Of high-school students who rode a bike in 2013, 88 percent said they never or rarely wore a helmet. 
  • Lifetime medical costs and productivity losses for fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists were $10 billion (2010 data).

Benefits of Helmet Use

  • A properly worn bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of brain and/or head injury by at least 40 percent and up to as much as 85 percent.
  • Bicycle helmets also help protect against face, forehead, and neck injuries in crashes.
  • A helmet is estimated to prevent from one-third to one-half of fatal head injuries among bicyclists.
  • A child wearing a poorly fitting helmet is twice as likely to suffer a head injury as one wearing a properly fitting helmet.
  • Kids who wear their helmets tipped back on their heads have a 52 percent greater risk of head injury than kids who center their helmets on their heads.
  • Nonhelmeted riders are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than helmeted riders.
  • A child who rides with someone else who is wearing a helmet is more likely to wear a helmet. 
  • For $11.50 spent on a helmet, $53 is saved in medical costs. 

Traumatic Brain Injury in Texas (based on a 2010 study)

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) cost Texans $6.8 billion annually in deaths, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and disability.
  • TBI prompts 119,500 emergency department visits each year in Texas, at an annual cost of $740 million.
  • TBI results in 22,000 hospitalizations annually in Texas, at a cost of $623 million.
  • About 4,000 Texans die each year as a result of a brain injury.
  • The two leading causes of TBI are falls and traffic crashes. 

Inline Skating Facts

  • In 2014, 59,316 children ages 19 and under had skating-related injuries. 
  • Skaters instinctively extend their arms to prevent head impact; however, skaters commonly reach speeds of 10 to 17 mph or more. At high speed, arm strength is insufficient to prevent the head from hitting the ground.

Skateboard/Scooter Facts

  • Powered skateboards and scooters are the No. 4 cause of injury in kids ages 14 and younger, and non-powered skateboards and scooters are No. 6. 
  • Six out of 10 skateboarding injuries occur among children ages 14 and under.
  • In 2014, 84,414 children ages 19 and under had skateboard-related injuries.
  • In 2007, powered skateboards and scooters sent 18,542 people to the emergency department, and non-powered versions sent 16,477 people to emergency departments. 

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, Safe Kids Worldwide, and brainandspinalcord.org