Helmets are always a good idea. They are one of the oldest forms of protective equipment on earth, having been worn by the Akkadians/Sumerians in the 23rd century BC, the Mycenaean Greeks since the 17th century BC and beyond. Even then, we knew how important and fragile our brains were; the skull can only do so much.
Today helmets have become significantly more advanced regarding construction and materials used. They are now utilized for far more than just combat and are a necessary part of everyday life and sporting activities. Whether you’re riding a bike or skiing downhill, modern helmets have been adapted to cater to a wide range of possible injury scenarios.
A Brief History of Helmets
Over time helmets have been made from a wide range of materials; metals, plastics, leather and more modern hardware such as Kevlar. Ancient helmets, like those worn by the Sumerians, would have been made from metals such as bronze, iron or steel. Even boar tusk was used to create helmets in ancient Mycenae.
It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that military and ceremonial helmets were developed, such as the great helm, the bascinet, the frog-mouth helm and the armet. World War I saw the development of steel helmets used in artillery battle.
Today’s militaries use helmets made of modern ballistic materials such as Kevlar and Aramid, meant to protect against bullets, shrapnel and shock waves from massive explosions.
They also have add-ons such as STANAG rails to act as a platform for mounting cameras, video cameras and VAS Shrouds for the mounting of Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and monocular Night Vision Devices (NVD).
RAF Typhoon pilots wear a helmet containing a 'Helmet Mounted Symbology System’ which allows the pilot to create a symbiotic relationship with the plane and actually “see” through the body of the aircraft. They can look at multiple targets, lock onto them and prioritize them by voice command.
For civilians, helmets have also made leaps and bounds. Bike helmets come in an array of shapes and varieties. The basis of their design contains an impact-absorbing foamed polymer liner, commonly made of expanded polystyrene (EPS). This will absorb a majority of impact, preventing significant blunt force trauma.
Motorcycle helmets, much like bike helmets are made for impact and are constructed using materials such as mold injected plastic, fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber.
Racing helmets like those used in Formula 1 are specifically made for the track, and they are subjected to extreme deformation and fragmentation tests. To pass the tests the helmets are made principally of carbon fiber, polyethylene, and fire-resistant aramid, and constructed in several layers.
Helmets have come a long way, but above all else, they are there to protect and save our skins. According to statistics released by the US Department of Transportation, 97% of bicycle accidents resulting in death were due to the victim not wearing a helmet. That's reason enough.
Here are eight examples of helmets from all walks of life doing their job.
1. Construction Mishap
This picture posted to Reddit by user gijsr shows why those signs urging everyone to wear a helmet on construction sites are very, very necessary. The source of this picture is currently unknown but it still makes an impact. Pardon the pun. Ouch.
2. Tree Collision
This picture series posted by motorcycle rider Roxanne shows how her helmet saved her life during a ride on her bike. She hit a tree head-on when she was flung from her bike and was able to walk away with significant but not life threatening injuries thanks to her Arai Vector 2 Helmet.
"My face and head took the greatest impact with the tree. I took a direct hit in the face which lead the doctor to proclaim that I was lucky to be wearing a full-face helmet. The Vector 2 didn't crack, the visor didn't break. My cheek bones weren't crushed or bruised, my spine was fine, my neck was only slightly sprained, my teeth were intact!The impact with the tree broke my nose and cut me above the left eye, which filled the inside of my visor with blood. I couldn't see or breathe," she writes about the accident.
Roxanne broke her wrist, ankle, nose and suffered cuts and contusions but she lived thanks to her helmet.
3. Thank You Kevlar
Orlando Police shared this photo on Twitter showing where a bullet struck an officer's helmet during the deadly shooting at Pulse Nightclub in 2016. The officer's life was saved because of his Kevlar helmet.
4. Snowboarding Accident
Imgur user DavidBowiesBulgeInLabyrinth wrote about his friend who works in ski gear shop who had a customer with a startling story, "Guy came into the shop for a new lid (helmet), and his buddy showed me these pics. He ducked a limb to get a fresh turn but the next tree came too soon. Everyone; add this to the list. Reason #569 why a helmet can save a life."
5. Crash Caught On Tape
Reddit user Ketameme69 shared this image of what his helmet looked life after a harrowing accident which was allegedly caught on a dashboard camera and posted to YouTube.
6. Saved by the Bike Helmet
Twitter user Bryan posted this picture of his friend's broken bike helmet after an accident, "My friend has a concussion after a bike accident. His helmet saved his life. Wear your helmet! #bikehelmetssavelives"
7. Oh Deer
Imgur user FearBoner72 posted a photo series called "Just a little early morning deer hunting," detailing his collision with a deer while riding his motorcycle in the states. The deer didn't make it, but he did thanks to his helmet.
8. Inside A Helmet
This image of a shaved motorcycle helmet has made the internet rounds, while some say the helmet sustained this injury due to being dragged by a bus, others say it was shaved down with a sander to show the hardy material within. Either way, it's harrowing and shows yet again why helmets are vital accessories.