A non-profit organization from Sausalito, California is trying to help educate cyclists about one of the most common injuries associated with a bicycle: traumatic brain injury. The group, Medicine of Cycling, is publishing a quick-reference card to help cycling teams and race officials assess potential brain injuries. They collaborated with physicians and researchers associated with the field to ensure they had the best information possible.
Cycling is often cites as the leading cause of sports-related TBI, though that claim is dulled by the fact that many injuries occur during travel and non-competitive recreational use. Still, brain injuries from cycling are often devastating because they often happen on cement or concrete at high speeds.
Yet, competitive cycling has often dismissed or ignored traumatic brain injury for a few reasons. Of course, there is the competitive drive that keeps players from pulling themselves out of the race. Second, there is no pausing or calling a time-out in competitive cycling. Getting checked out for brain injury when it happens means losing and possibly costing your team, not to mention risking contracts, endorsements, and your pride.
“Cyclists who sustain a fall and potential concussion have two options,” Anna K. Abramson M.D., co-founder of Medicine of Cycling explained to Wendy Booher. “They can get back on the bike and ‘wing it,’ exposing not only themselves but those riding next to and behind them to further injury or, they can take a moment to check for abnormal reactions to normal physical processes.”
“The card helps for a swift and targeted survey of potentially hazardous changes in the brain processing that signal a hard stop for returning to a high metabolic activity involving speed,” Dr. Abramson said. “You don’t have to be a neurologist or concussion specialist to get through the checklist and make a sensible call about the athlete’s safety if you have a concussion assessment card in hand.”