Use that head – put on a helmet
Did you see Mike Metzger backflipping through the fountains at Caesars Palace on Thursday night in Las Vegas?
If you looked closely, “The Godfather” was wearing a helmet.
He sure was. Don’t let his pompous nickname fool you, Metzger realizes that without his headgear he has a good chance of becoming closer to his god if he crashes.
The Menifee, Calif., freestyle motocross daredevil has been riding a motorcycle for 25 years, but he still knows things can go terribly wrong. Even a three-time X Games gold medalist can overrotate or underrotate on a given day.
That’s why I can’t understand why mountain resorts don’t make headgear mandatory on their slopes.
Too many skiers and snowboarders have suffered foolish deaths in recent years because resorts haven’t taken the extra safety measure of putting helmets on their paying customers. Are they so afraid that their lift lines will dwindle if helmets become as essential as boots and poles?
Last week while skiing at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, I observed less than half of the mountain enthusiasts wearing helmets.
With “padded” metal towers, unforgiving trees and no speed limits, it’s not if but when accidents will occur – and some of them will obviously become deadly.
We’re all hard-headed to some extent, but why take a chance of shortening your life by 30 to 50 years? You can still get an adrenaline rush pointing them straight at the top of “The Wall” with a helmet secured to your head.
You’ll look a little smarter, too.
We make sure our children wear seat belts, but we’ll send them off to a mountain without a helmet – makes about as much sense as the San Francisco 49ers using their first pick on a tight end.
And by all means anyone hucking themselves off jumps and kickers in the terrain park shouldn’t need any preaching about the pluses of wearing headgear. Unless you have a noggin’ like Evander Holyfield, chances are your skull cracks before the ice.
Even Olympic gold medalist Shaun White – who rarely makes a mistake – doesn’t leave home without a helmet.
And if you’re as lucky as Metzger was in safely clearing the fountains that left Evel Knievel in a coma for a month in 1967, it sure feels good to remove your helmet after a day’s play and be able to smile.
– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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