King of Sparta Injured in Motorcycle Accident

The benefits of wearing a helmet.

Posted Oct 20, 2017

Gerard Butler, as King Leonidas, famed Spartan King in the movie 300, was able to hold off a Persian army of 150,000 soldiers, but he was recently dethroned from his motorcycle when a lady allegedly made an illegal U-turn in front of him on the streets of LA. According to Butler, he crashed into the car and went flying through the air, somersaulted and landed. In interviews, Butler talked about how the accident made him aware of how fragile life is because the accident could have ended his. His list of reported injuries included five fractures in his right foot, a torn meniscus, and various cuts and bruises. He minimized his injuries while admitting it was painful.

In an MSN interview, Butler stated about the October 15, 2017, crash, “I did a somersault apparently and smacked down and it hurt a bit.” Butler’s use of the word “apparently” relates to possible memory issues from the accident, as well as the word “dazed” being used to describe the state he was in when taken to a local hospital. It is not uncommon for there to be concussive features resulting from such accidents. He was wearing a helmet which may have saved his life. Strangely, in some states, helmets are still not required when riding a motorcycle. Hopefully, Mr. Butler was spared a concussion, but sometimes the effects of the brain being violently shaken do not manifest until weeks later due to metabolic alterations that can be triggered. Having metabolic levels checked two or three weeks post-accident is a good idea if there are cognitive or emotional changes following an accident.

According to the CDC, motorcycle-related deaths have increased 55 percent since 2000. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, in 2014 the number of deaths per mile traveled was 27 times higher on motorcycles over car accidents. According to the same source, helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and roughly 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. The CDC reported the economic burden of injuries and deaths from motorcycle-related crashes in one year totaled $12 billion.  In Michigan where I live, a mandatory helmet law was repelled; since then, the number of helmetless deaths has increased 460 percent. The need for a universal helmet law seems to be a no-brainer. 

In addition to helmets preventing injuries or deaths, continued developments in automotive assistive technology may eventually prevent the kind of crash Butler had and fortunately survived this October. Self-driving cars of the future would have sensed Butler’s approach and avoided impact. Motorcycle assistive technology in the future will likely prevent many injuries as well. 

Even the ancient Spartans knew enough to wear a helmet when doing something dangerous like fighting the Persian Empire of Xerxes. But in 2017, in the US, when it comes to riding motorcycles, we are not there yet.