Helmet Clasp Cracks Larynx? A Case Series and Literature Review

Helmet use is well known to greatly reduce the risk of head injury in both bicycle and motorcycle riding. However, helmet buckle position may increase the risk of injury to the neck cartilages. The authors present a series of cases in which thyroid cartilage fracture is presumed to arise from the position of the helmet buckle during a crash. The objective with this case series is to outline an unusual series of cases and review the literature regarding laryngeal injuries secondary to helmet impact. Single institution case series. The authors present 3 adult patients with laryngeal fractures following bicycle and motorcycle accidents. Medical records were reviewed for history. All patients in this series presented with voice or swallowing complaints and were found to have thyroid cartilage fractures. It was determined that the buckle of the helmet was positioned overlying the larynx during these accidents, so the impact and flexion of the head and neck may have produced sufficient force against it to fracture the cartilage. A literature search yielded works supporting helmet use for head and brain protection but only a single report of laryngeal injuries secondary to helmet use. Though wearing a helmet is protective against head injuries, it may create serious risk to the neck cartilages when the buckle is positioned adjacent to the larynx. Rare but serious, neck cartilage fracture should be considered in helmeted cycling accidents. It may be reasonable to advance a helmet design that positions the buckle and other nonpliable components laterally, away from neck cartilages.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01677804
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 6 2018 3:19PM