Helmet use and associated spinal fractures in motorcycle crash victims

Pamela W. Goslar, Neil R. Crawford, Scott R. Petersen, Jeffrey Wilson, Timothy Harrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The effect of helmet use on the incidence of cervical and thoracic fractures sustained in motorcycle crashes remains controversial. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the incidence of these fractures in helmeted and nonhelmeted crash victims at a single Level I trauma hospital with a well-defined system for evaluating spinal fractures. RESULTS: Of 422 motorcycle crash victims treated during 3 years, 190 had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 75 sustained some form of spinal fracture. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the statistical analysis, there was no relationship between helmet use and cervical or thoracic fractures, after controlling for speed of crash. The protective effect of helmet use in TBI was verified. These findings re-emphasize the need for a well-defined radiologic protocol for spinal injury at centers that evaluate crash victims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Helmets
  • Motorcycle
  • Spine fractures
  • Statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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