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Study: Since helmet law change in Michigan, skull injuries have doubled

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A recent medical study lead by a Michigan State University doctor found that skull fractures and other head and facial injuries from motorcycle trauma have doubled since that state of Michigan relaxed its motorcycle helmet laws. The study was led by Michigan State University College of Human Services and Spectrum Health Dr. Nicholas S. Adams.  

“So what we found is after the state of Michigan repealed the universal helmet law, in favor of a partial helmet law, approximately 20 percent of motorcycle trauma patients presenting to the hospital were un-helmeted, after the law it exceeded 44 percent,” Dr. Adams said.  

Back in 2012, legislators changed Michigan’s universal motorcycle helmet law, deciding to allow riders to go without their helmets if they met certain criteria. The study concluded however, that the number of skull fractures and other head and facial injuries doubled in the three years after the change.

“Comparing helmet patients versus un-helmeted patients, un-helmeted patients had more injuries across the board, that includes all type of facial bone injuries, fractures, as well as soft tissue injuries, lacerations, abrasions and contusions,” Adams said.  

Adams added he hopes the study’s results will lead lawmakers to rethink the helmet law change.

“I hope that this data coupled with numerous other studies showing the benefits of helmets and universal helmet laws helps to persuade state and national legislature to make the correct changes,” he said.  

The study was published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons.

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