About Bruce

  • Bruce Barcott, a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction, is the author of The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, named one of the best books of 2008 by Library Journal. His previous book, The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier, was a recipient of the Washington State Governor's Award and was recently re-issued in a 10th anniversary edition. Barcott is an environmental journalist whose articles on humans and wildlife appear in Rolling Stone, On Earth, Outside Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He often reviews nonfiction for the New York Times Book Review. He is currently at work on a book about marijuana legalization in America.

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« Here Are The MIPS Helmets | Main | A High Risk Investment: Welcome to the Cannabis Space »

May 09, 2013


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Carter Kennedy

Why keep it a secret? The article says that concussions are caused by the head turning rapidly. Helmets are now available that protect against that rotational acceleration.


The inflatable helmets from Europe are awesome in concept (I like an air bag that's literally an air bag) but you can't buy them in the U.S. because it's illegal to sell them as a helmet here. They can't pass the CPSC standard for bicycle helmets. I checked in with the folks making them in Europe, and they couldn't even legally send me a sample to try.


Brilliant article.

Thank you

R Evens

You are doing a real disservice to the public by putting out misleading information about bicycle helmets. First off, while bike helmets are designed and tested to protect against catastrophic head injuries, they do offer some protection against concussions. You are wrong to say they do nothing to protect against a concussion which may lead people to think they do not need to wear a helmet. Bike helmets cushion impact in accident by reducing the deceleration rate of the head, thereby reducing the impact forces seen by the head. This in itself is the main benefit of wearing a helmet. Secondly, all helmets will slip at the scalp interface. The MIPS helmet technology allows for slip within the shell, while a conventional helmet slips on your head. Third, the causes of concussions and sub-concussions are not fully understood. Some research shows rotational energy may be the cause, and some shows the deformation and strain among the cells may be the cause. The root cause is still being researched. I find it hard to believe you researched this topic for a year and could only come up with one theory, since there are many more out there that have been vetted.

As a journalist you have a responsibility to the public to present the whole story, not a sensationalized one sided article that highlights a single new technology. I am very disappointed and distraught with the tone of your article. In the future, I hope that you will do more thorough research before writing about a topic that is so important.

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