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Safety tips for protecting your head this summer

  • Published
  • By Toni McCall
  • Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

During the summer, people look forward to leaving the house and enjoying more recreational sports and activities. The military community is familiar with being on the go and living active lives.


The thrill of exploring a new bike path or the excitement of hitting the basketball court can distract people from recognizing unseen risks. Understanding the risks that cause traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can help people avoid summer mishaps.


There are simple things to do to protect your head, like wearing a helmet when you venture the roads on your bike, motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle. Consider key safety measures when choosing a helmet. Select the right helmet or headgear for each activity and ensure they fit properly.


While on the road traveling to a summer vacation destination, practice safe driving. Essential precautions to take include wearing a seatbelt and removing driving distractions such as texting or dialing on mobile phones. These actions help to keep all drivers and passengers safe.


On the basketball court or the playing field, you should assess the risks around you such as objects you can trip over or collide into. Footwear with good traction prevents slips and falls.


In the military, most brain injuries are diagnosed in noncombat settings. Common causes of noncombat brain injuries are motor vehicle collisions, falls, sports-related incidents and training accidents.  According to Department of Defense data, more than 344,000 service members have been diagnosed with TBI since 2000. 


The majority of brain injuries in the military are concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.  A TBI occurs when a blow or jolt to the head disrupts normal brain function. After a concussion, you may feel woozy or confused, see spots or lose consciousness. The signs and symptoms are often subtle and difficult to recognize. Seek medical attention if you suspect you experienced a concussion.


Both in combat and noncombat settings, DOD policy requires a concussion evaluation and appropriate rest time for service members involved in potentially concussive events – a motor vehicle collision, a direct blow to the head, loss of consciousness or repeated experience with concussive events. All of these incidents require mandatory concussion evaluation by a medical provider.


Education is critical in raising concussion awareness, promoting prevention and supporting recovery. The San Antonio Military Medical Center regional education coordinator for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center provides concussion awareness trainings for service members and medical personnel. For more information about education and outreach efforts at Joint Base San Antonio, contact the regional education coordinator at 916-7013.


A Head for the Future ( is a U.S. Department of Defense TBI awareness initiative that highlights service members and veterans who recovered from brain injury with medical treatment and support. The video series TBI Champions is featured on and the YouTube channel of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.


For additional safety tips and TBI prevention during noncombat activities – such as playing sports, driving, biking and riding – educational resources can be found at and ordered from the DVBIC Resources section for free.