Natasha Richardson: Brain Injury, Ski Accident & Helmets

Update: Natasha Richardson died on Wednesday, March 18, in New York City. She was 45.

What really happened to actress Natasha Richardson is still a mystery. We heard she might be brain dead, as Cafe MichelleL reported yesterday.

This is incredibly sad news. And totally scary.


She suffered a head injury during a beginner skiing lesson. She seemed fine after hitting her head on a beginner slope in Canada--even talking and laughing. But an hour later, she complained of severe head pain and was rushed to a local hospital. Her brain injury is reportedly so severe that she might be on life support. We know Natasha was air lifted to a New York City hospital, according to the New York Times. Her husband, Liam Neeson, and mother, Vanessa Redgrave, are at her bedside.

She is a British-born actress, and she has been in U.S. TV shows like Ellis Island and the movie Parent Trap. She also appears on Broadway frequently, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in Cabaret.

Rumors aside, head injuries while skiing are very serious. Sonny Bono and Micheal L. Kennedy died of this cause more than 11 years ago.

For protection, many recreational skiers are starting to wear helmets--up to 43 percent. Helmets have been shown to protect the heads of skiers traveling 12 to 17 miles an hour, but not at higher speeds.

Ski resorts in the U.S. do not require helmets.

She might have suffered Acute Subdural Hematoma, a form of traumatic brain injury in which blood gathers in the inner layer of the outer protective covering of the brain. They are among the deadliest of all head injuries.

Natasha and Liam have two sons, 13-year-old Michael and 12-year-old Daniel.

Does this sad news get to you, too? Also, would you wear a helmet while skiing? What about bicycling? I have to admit, I haven't in the past. But this story definitely makes me change my mind.

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