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Digital Subscriptions > American Survival Guide > December 2018 > DON’T STRAIN YOUR BRAIN

DON’T STRAIN YOUR BRAIN

FIND THE RIGHT HELMET TO PROTECT YOUR GREATEST ASSET.
A team of sailors from USS John C. Stennis wearing militaryapproved "safety helmets" in December 2001. (Photo: Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Jayme Pastoric/U.S. Navy/ Public Domain)
© GETTY IMAGES

ONLY IN THE PAST DECADE HAS THE LINK BETWEEN HEAD TRAUMA THAT RESULTED IN CONCUSSIONS AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, AS WELL AS PHYSICAL PROBLEMS, BEEN UNDERSTOOD. WE CAN THANK PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL IN PART FOR HELPING US UNDERSTAND WHY WE SHOULD TAKE HEAD INJURY SERIOUSLY.

“Brain buckets.” Whether the phrase was coined by athletes or soldiers through the years, the helmets they've worn have earned this colorful moniker—and for good reason. Helmets are designed to protect the wearer's head, in general, and, more specifically, the brain. Helmets have existed for eons and were among the earliest forms of armor used by warriors.

For the past couple of hundred years, helmets have been worn by various professionals. But safety wasn't always the original reason.

The original fire helmet, then called a “fire cap,” was designed in 1731 by Jacobus Turk for the Fire Department of New York in order to distinguish the department from competitors. However, the helmet’s protective benefits were understood over time.

It might be hard to imagine, but miners didn't even wear helmets until the 1920s! Prior to World War I, miners wore a soft cap made of cloth or canvas with a leather brim and lamp bracket to hold their light. However, in 1919, San Francisco’s Edward D. Bullard developed the first hard hat; it was based on the combat helmet American soldiers wore in the trenches on the Western Front.

ONLY IN THE PAST DECADE HAS THE LINK BETWEEN HEAD TRAUMA THAT RESULTED IN CONCUSSIONS AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, AS WELL AS PHYSICAL PROBLEMS, BEEN UNDERSTOOD. WE CAN THANK PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL IN PART FOR HELPING US UNDERSTAND WHY WE SHOULD TAKE HEAD INJURY SERIOUSLY.

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