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Most e-scooter injuries could be prevented, CDC finds

E-scooter brain injury shows need for helmets

Electric scooters are a global phenomenon, but they're not without risks — especially for those who don't take the proper safety precautions. According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, learning how to properly ride an e-scooter and wearing a helmet while doing so might be the key to preventing injuries.

The CDC partnered with the Public Health and Transportation departments in Austin, Texas, to analyze 936,110 e-scooter trips between Sept. 5, 2018 and Nov. 30, 2018. There were 271 people involved in some type of e-scooter incident that resulted in an injury. The CDC was able to confirm 130 such cases, amounting to an injury rate of 14.3 per 100,000 trips.

Nearly half of those hurt in e-scooter crashes sustained head injuries, 15 percent of which were traumatic. The CDC said less than one percent of the riders it studied wore helmets.

Earlier this year, a Minnesota man suffered a traumatic brain injury in an e-scooter crash. Henry Bromelkamp was left unconscious for two weeks and underwent surgery to have part of his skull removed, CBS Minnesota reported. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. He now faces years of recovery and has been working with speech, occupational and physical therapists.

A doctor who treated Bromelkamp believes this highlights the importance of e-scooter safety, saying they can lessen the impact in a crash.

"I think it's maybe been a bit of a blind spot where people didn't realize that they posed a significant risk to safety and well-being," Dr. Brian Amdahl told CBS Minnesota. "There's usually an initial impact then a secondary impact, where the head can fall back and hit the pavement. He wouldn't have been protected from that, and it's often that second impact that causes sort of a rebound injury."

Head injuries are some of the most common e-scooter injuries, according to a recent study from the University of California, Los Angeles. Other common injuries include fractures and dislocated joints.

The CDC recommends that all riders wear helmets and take the proper steps to educate themselves about how to operate an e-scooter before hopping aboard one.