Bike safety

No one ever plans on having an accident. It's good to know that if you do, you're going to have your safety gear on.

Ben Utecht, former Minnesota Gopher and Super Bowl champion, shares the importance of wearing a helmet whenever you ride a bicycle. He also shows his kids how to wear their bike helmets.

Utecht's professional football career ended because of a concussion. This type of brain injury has become the biggest injury in sports over the last couple of years. Concussions can also happen during recreational activities like riding your bike.

[MUSIC PLAYING] No one ever plans on having an accident. So it's good to know that if you ever do, you're going to have your safety gear on, because you're smart. And thanks to your helmet, you're going to stay that way. 

Always wear your helmet. 

Hi, this is Ben Utecht, former Golden Gopher and Super Bowl champion. Unfortunately, my six year career ended because of a brain injury. And that's the reason why I'm here to talk to you today. Brain injuries and concussions in sports have become the biggest injury over the last couple of years, but it can also happen in recreational activities, like riding your bike. So take this time to listen to what some of my friends had to say about it. 

A concussion is really an injury to the brain that causes it to not function right. 

Your brain, which is essentially just a soft tissue, is surrounded by a very hard bone, or your skull. That brain will smash into the hard bone of your skull. And when that happens, it's similar to if you were hit in the arm or hit in the leg. You get some swelling, some bruising, and it hurts. 

The things that I experienced were loss of consciousness, amnesia, experiencing headaches, and becoming very tired just walking up stairs. And there are times where I just forget things. You know, and I hate to think what would have happened if I wasn't wearing my helmet. 

So let's talk about the proper way to fit a helmet. 

Ben, can you help me with my helmet? 

Sure, of course. First of all, we want to make sure that you have the right size. 

One, make sure your helmet is the right size. 

OK. Oftentimes we get a helmet that might be too big or too small, and that can cause problems. So make sure your helmet fits properly. 

Two, make sure your helmet is in the right position. 

It needs to be right on top, not leaning down or not hanging backwards. 

Three, always fasten your straps. 

We want to make sure the straps are snug enough so that the helmet does not move up, down, or side to side. 

Four, make sure your helmet is fitted properly. 

It should be snug, but not too tight. And mom or dad, you should be able to take a bookmark or credit card and slide it into the space between the skull and the helmet. 

So here are some very important safety tips when riding your bike. One, we've got to make sure that our helmets are on. 

One, always wear your helmet. 

No matter what, put that piece of equipment on your head to protect your brain. Don't leave that bike helmet on your handlebar. OK, take it off and put it on. It's very important. Don't feel like you're not tough, or don't feel like it's not cool, because it is very cool to wear your helmet. 

Two, make sure your bike is in good working condition. 

Let's check our brakes. Let's make sure that the chain is on properly, and that we have our reflectors. And also let's make sure that there's enough air in the tires. Three, be seen, be safe, wear bright colors. 

Let's wear bright colors to make sure that people can see you while you're biking. 

Four, have fun. 

Riding a bike gets you outside, and it's so much fun. It gives you a chance to exercise, which is so important. 

You know, kids, it only takes one time. And I'm a perfect example of that. One hit and it totally ended my NFL career. And I don't want that for you. So make sure that you take that helmet, that you put it on every time you have a chance to go ride your bike, because it will help. And it will keep you safe. 

For more information, go to allinahealth.org/concussion. 

Ben, wrong helmet.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz

a boy wearing a bike helmet smiles as he rides his dirt bike

Allina Health partners with Free Bikes 4 Kidz to help all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. Allina Health gave copies of this video with free helmets to all who received bikes at the statewide Free Bikes 4 Kidz giveaway.


What you should know about concussions in sports

concussion_soccer

A concussion is a blow to the head that affects how the brain works.

Concussions in sports can happen in free play, recreational sports, youth leagues, or in high school and college sports.

ImPACT™, a 20-minute computer test, would help your child in the event of a future concussion.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Bike Helmet Safety for Children, safe-ahc-14964 (Some information adapted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)
First Published: 08/15/2011
Last Reviewed: 08/15/2011