A: _According to Dave Thom, a senior consultant specializing in protective headgear, safety and research at Collision and Injury Dynamics in El Segundo, California, the short answer is no. "I'm happy to tell you that retired Massachusetts State Troopers are apparently not good sources for head-injury bio-mechanics and helmet advice," Thom says. "He doesn't have any idea what he's talking about. I love to ride my dirtbike in the woods and my streetbike on the street, and if I were to stick my face into a tree or utility pole, I'd much rather be wearing a helmet with full facial coverage than anything else. We're talking about a modern full-face helmet, with a substantial chin bar structure lined with substantial padding—typically the same EPS foam that protects the rest of your head. But give your trooper some credit: There is a bit of truth to the notion that fractured facial bones help protect the brain; a helmet just does a much better job without the pain and disfigurement. An impact to your bare skull is more likely to cause a brain injury than an identical impact to your unprotected face because the facial structure will fracture, absorbing energy and providing some protection, albeit painful.