To wear or not to wear. That is the Question.
I've had a couple of conversations with other hemophiliacs my own age about wearing a helmet while growing up. Some said that they rarely ever did, and then there are people like me who wore one my entire childhood. So what do you think? Helmet? Or no?
According to a Hemaware article from February of 2011 entitled Head Bleeds and Hemophilia, Guy Young, MD, director of the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles stated,
"If a child is on prophylaxis three times a week and the risk of intracranial hemorrhage is very small, then there’s no need to wear a helmet,” says Young. “It stigmatizes him.” But Young makes exceptions. “For a toddler with an inhibitor engaging in an activity that may lead to trauma, like going to the playground, I would suggest a helmet.” (Entirely borrowed from the above mentioned article. No plagerism here.)
Okay. That's great. But to me, something is rotten in the state of California. I, personally, do NOT agree with wearing a helmet "stigmatizing" a child who has a bleeding disorder. I mean, being alive with a helmet or having major bleeding episodes or damage with not wearing a helmet, I know which one I would choose. I may have felt isolated at times because of my helmet, but guess what, I was different. This idea of treating hemophiliacs like they are normal is just a bunch of bull in my head. We are different, we are not normal. And if there are things such as molded plastic that can cause me to live a longer, healthier lifestyle, than why not?
Now granted, I don't think the bubble boy aspect is the way to go either, and when I was growing up, infusing with factor was a death sentence with the threat of AIDS, so wearing a helmet was also a different thing for me than for parents today. And maybe I didn't need it until I was 13, but when I was sitting in the lunch room at age 11 and got hit in the head with a lunch tray which caused me to be hospitalized for 3 days, I don't blame my mother for making me keep it on.
Now I know I can get a little harsh, but pretty much all the research I have found has stated that wearing a helmet isn't necessary for children, and I think it is. You would never tell a "normal" child not not wear a helmet while riding a bike, so why would you not put a helmet on your child while on a playground, or even if roughhousing with a sibling if head trauma could happen.
I think Laureen A. Kelley said it best in her book Raising a Child with Hemophilia1.
"Ultimately, your decision about gear and when to wear it will be personal: a function of your family beliefs, your concerns, and your child's activity level. Do what's best for your child so he can explore his environment safely and have fun!" (Page 114)I just wanted to throw out a different idea about helmets. I wore one 24/7 and grew up fine. Parent's and peers all understood the situation and it bothers me that medical professionals don't give children the benefit of the doubt that they will not only accept the child wearing protective gear, but understand and help their peer as well.
Cause look at me! I grew up just fine!
Till we meet again...
1Kelley, Laureen, A. (2007). Raising a Child with Hemophilia. USA: CSL Behring.