My heart goes out to Natasha Richardson’s family. It’s hard to fathom that a person can take a fall on a beginner ski slope, appear fine afterward, complain of a headache an hour later and be brain dead the next day. If I have a hard time understanding that, imagine Natasha’s family.
But what I also don’t understand is why more people don’t wear helmets when they ski. That’s not to say a helmet would have saved Natasha’s life but it could have. I’ve only been on the slopes a few times and NEVER would I think of getting on skis without a helmet. It’s akin to riding in a car without fastening the seat belt. Back in the days when I did drive (before I moved to New York), I wouldn’t move my car from one parking space to another without buckling up. It’s the same on the slopes. As you can see from the photo above, taken in Aspen, I’m liable to end up under the snow.
I know I’m going to take more than my fair share of falls when I ski, or rather when I torture instructors. I’m just not good. I blame it on my height. The fact is I’m not that good in many sports so skiing is no different. But because of that I take necessary precautions. If I’m going bike riding in Central Park, I wear not just a helmet (I even bought my own) but pads. I’m not into scrapes and bruises and I’m not into head injuries either. I read that helmets don’t really protect unless a person is going 14 mph or less. Chances are, if you’re on the bunny slopes, you’re not going over that.
Call it a false sense of security but give me my helmet. When I go horseback riding, I wear a helmet. I don’t even stop to think about whether the person who had the helmet on before me had lice. I’d rather cut off my locks to get rid of lice than be paralyzed.
We may put too much emphasis on celebrities in this country but we can also use them as an example from which to learn. Who knows how many sons, daughters, mothers and fathers have had their lives ended in the same tragic fashion as Natasha and we never heard about them because they were not household names. Perhaps around 390. Don’t let Natasha’s death be in vein. Wear your helmets.