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  1. #1
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    How common are concussions from mtbing

    I read this article on theverge and it talked about helmets not being designed for preventing extreme impacts and not lighter ones that can cause concussions. Are concussions really that common for mountain biking? What do you guys think?

    Why bicycle helmets are failing riders, and how to fix them | The Verge

  2. #2
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    It doesnt take much to get concussed.
    I would wager helmets are more for avoiding severe blood/fracture trauma. There isnt anything soft in them that would slow down your head from impact making concussion still a high likelyhood. MIPS are designed to keep moving after helmet hits the ground...interesting but super pricey for helmets at the moment.
    ((no you cant put a price on safety but people wont know or maybe cant afford $200 over a $50 helmet))

  3. #3
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    In ten years of riding, I've concussed myself once when I went head first into a tree after sliding out during the landing of a small jump. Cracked my helmet and was dazed for a day while recovering my wits.
    Get out and ride even when you don't want to because ten minutes into the ride you'll be glad you did.

  4. #4
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    Interesting article to add

    SENSELESS | Bicycling Magazine

    Bike helmets protect the scalp and skull by preventing lacerations and fractures. - I've crashed and I am thankful for my helmet

    Concussions are tough to deal with - in essence helmets do little to de-accelerate the head and the brain when it really wants to come to a sudden stop. The crush design of current bike helmets helps a little - but only a little. The forces involved are just too large for any kind of crash at speed.

    On the other hand I play it safe and always wear a helmet
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  5. #5
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    I gave myself a concussion a few years back. Took a hard fall due to diagonal roots on a steep downhill. It was January and the ground was frozen. The helmet didn't crack, I still use it as a spare (well, now its my backup spare).

    In retrospect it sounded pretty funny ( I don't remember any of it ). I kept asking my friend where we were. He kept trying to describe what trail and what part of the woods, but I was like " No, what park are we riding in? Where am I? " He explained, then we rode on and 30 seconds later I asked "Wait, where are we again?" So he volunteered to drive me the hour home and the whole way I asked "Why are you driving my truck? I have a concussion?!? OK, Wait a minute, why are you driving my truck?"

    Got a CT scan and everything was fine. Rested up and took it easy for awhile. Luckily I didn't whack it again anytime soon, they're finding that to be a real danger.
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  6. #6
    dru
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    I think concussions from MTBing are quite rare. However some people are much more prone to them than others.

    I've been punched in the head many times in my younger days and have never had a concussion. I've never been knocked out either. Other folks aren't so lucky, and concussions have finished their careers.

    I hope I've dodged a bullet and don't get boxers dementia when I get older. That would suck!

    Drew
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattmers View Post
    I read this article on theverge and it talked about helmets not being designed for preventing extreme impacts and not lighter ones that can cause concussions. Are concussions really that common for mountain biking? What do you guys think?

    Why bicycle helmets are failing riders, and how to fix them | The Verge
    I have had 3-4 concussions in 30 years of mtbing. All while wearing a helmet. Would have had greater injuries without it.

    Hit my helmeted head many more times without it resulting in concussions.
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  8. #8
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    I've had 2. The first was part of a crash that landed me in a 3 day coma. My cross country style helmet was cracked for and aft, left and right, all the way across like a plus all the way over the helmet. The front was abraded away since I landed and skidded on my face. I have no memory of the whole incident and am lucky to be alive and without brain damage. This happened in 1993.
    My doctor said I was more liable to get more concussions after such a brain injury. In 1996 I crashed again, downhill at about 30mph. I never lost consciousness, but was very groggy and with hindsight, it was clear I got another concussion.

    Since then, I never stopped riding, but I usually ride with a full face. Concussions are serious stuff and I've heard more recent studies suggest they are cumulative.

  9. #9
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    2 concussions here. Both occurred when I was wearing a helmet. I figure they would been worse if I was not wearing one. I think that concussions are more frequently in mtb'ing than a lot of people want to believe.

    By comparison, 40+ years of martial art training, including a few years as a sparring partner for a Muay Thai fighter, only got me one concussion, but it was a doozie.
    It's nothing to take lightly, as all the evidence does point to cumulative, progressive damage from them as time goes by.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  10. #10
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    My skull is triangular shaped because it has two sharp corners in the back as a result of childhood concussions. Back then I didn't wear a helmet, so if you can imagine full street speed going directly to a concrete curb was quite an oweee.

    I believe rocks are just as hard.

    What are the chances that there could be rocks in mtn biking?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dru View Post
    I think concussions from MTBing are quite rare. However some people are much more prone to them than others.

    I've been punched in the head many times in my younger days and have never had a concussion. I've never been knocked out either. Other folks aren't so lucky, and concussions have finished their careers.

    I hope I've dodged a bullet and don't get boxers dementia when I get older. That would suck!

    Drew
    ^^^^ THIS ^^^^

    Like Drew, Ive been hit in the head a ton and taken my share of spills. Some people are more prone to concussions than others. I've never had one in spite of some pretty hard crashes (moto and mtb). I have friends who have had several and one friend who decided to give up motorcycle roadracing because of chronic concussions. Every time you get a concussion it does permanent damage and it seems from the latest research that this is cumulative.

    A polystyrene helmet is good for one very severe impact and that's it. Even though the shell may not look compromised the material which absorbs the impact (the liner...not the shell) is compromised. Helmets are cheap.....closed head injuries not so much!
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  12. #12
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    Rode motocross as a youth, age 6-14. Many crashes with helmets, no concussions. Been doing MTBing about 4 years now. Fewer crashes, all with helmets, no concussions. I've never had a helmet totally destroyed but I did have some that have been retired because they didn't look fine.

    If you see someone riding without a helmet they are really stupid. The likelihood of crashing can be debated, but the severity of head injury following a crash cannot.

  13. #13
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    Fractured a vertebrae in my neck after I went OTB and hit a tree at least 20mph. The helmet cracked, but no concussion (although I'm sketchy about whether I hit the tree or the ground) despite no concussion. Man did I see stars right after!

    So as others have already mentioned, I think some are more prone to concussion than others.
    Current Stable: 2011 Niner EMD, 2011 Vassago Jabba

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    A polystyrene helmet is good for one very severe impact and that's it. Even though the shell may not look compromised the material which absorbs the impact (the liner...not the shell) is compromised. Helmets are cheap.....closed head injuries not so much!
    Best thing said in this thread so far.

    They help, they help a lot. I havn't had one on a bike yet, but a few racing motorcross and a few roadracing motorcycles. Long term effects, i'm not going into mine, but yes it can cause different problems.

  15. #15
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    Look into the newer MIPS helmets. They are more expensive, but the latest tech in helmets.
    MIPS | Take a look in the latest issue of Popular Science
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  16. #16
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    We have plenty new things to say about protection and what's inside your helmet. We're not trying to shamelessly self-promote our brand, so don't take this thread as marketing BS. HIP-TEC has created a new protective interior helmet technology, but we also want to raise awareness around current helmet standards and how they have stalled the progression of helmet protection. Most bike and ski helmets provide good protection against big impacts, at least in the range of 12 - 14 mph, what we are really trying to understand is how concerned are you about lower speed impacts and their effect on the brain. In full disclosure we are a company really trying to change the paradigm of head protection from just focusing on the larger impacts, to focusing on all of the different types of impacts that cause injuries. Itís going to get techy, but letís talk about it because itís important. You only have one brain.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HIP-TEC View Post
    We have plenty new things to say about protection and what's inside your helmet. We're not trying to shamelessly self-promote our brand, so don't take this thread as marketing BS. HIP-TEC has created a new protective interior helmet technology, but we also want to raise awareness around current helmet standards and how they have stalled the progression of helmet protection. Most bike and ski helmets provide good protection against big impacts, at least in the range of 12 - 14 mph, what we are really trying to understand is how concerned are you about lower speed impacts and their effect on the brain. In full disclosure we are a company really trying to change the paradigm of head protection from just focusing on the larger impacts, to focusing on all of the different types of impacts that cause injuries. Itís going to get techy, but letís talk about it because itís important. You only have one brain.
    Good stuff, HIP-TEC. Thanks for shamelessly spamming!
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

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    Hey Ray we don't want to spam. Thanks for calling us out though. That was kind of a junk fabricated paragraph. Admitted. We want to join this conversation and talk about ways to bring awareness to riders, that current helmet standards are not helping progress helmet technology. Most helmet companies make helmets to pass an old (40-year-old) standards test. It's pretty simple. Put a dense, hard foam inside a helmetÖdrop test it at a certified testing facility and if it absorbs the g's associated with maximum impact... Pass it...then produce it. This goes for that kids helmet you see in Wal-Mart or a high-end brain bucket you see in your local shop.

    People are going bigger, riders are going faster and new research is getting better at identifying how and why head injuries and concussions are happening at such an alarming rate. Low impact repeated blows or even a single impact at low speed can create 150 g's of force to the head. That's major concussion g force. Compare that to 170 gís which is the hardest hit recorded in football. You may think you just received a dazing hit from that small fall, but those small hits are really leading you down the path to something bad, possibly when you take that big hit. Make sense? A majority of helmets with dense hard foam inside are made to stop skull fractures, not concussions. Why not use a technology made to lessen and absorb the impact of low, medium and high impact blows? Demand more from helmet companies and ask questions about why they have not adapted their helmet technology to new research and tech on the market. Lot's to digest here, but we want this conversation to start now. There are a lot of great helmet companies doing a lot of great things, but we need to push protective technology to the next level now.

  19. #19
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    I hope lots of different companies start getting serious about improving mtb helmet safety to better protect against concussions not just skull fractures. I hope riders look back 10 years from now and shake their heads at what stone age helmets we all are wearing now. None of this reflects well at all on the helmet industry over the past 20 years.

    MIPS has gotten most of the press I've seen about this, and there a few helmets out now with their stuff. I've never heard of Hip-tec before and their website is short on details at this point, but hopefully they'll be part of the solution too.

    One concussion here, but subsequent minor impacts weeks later keep reviving minor symptoms which is unsettling.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HIP-TEC View Post
    Hey Ray we don't want to spam. Thanks for calling us out though. That was kind of a junk fabricated paragraph. Admitted. We want to join this conversation and talk about ways to bring awareness to riders, that current helmet standards are not helping progress helmet technology. Most helmet companies make helmets to pass an old (40-year-old) standards test. It's pretty simple. Put a dense, hard foam inside a helmetÖdrop test it at a certified testing facility and if it absorbs the g's associated with maximum impact... Pass it...then produce it. This goes for that kids helmet you see in Wal-Mart or a high-end brain bucket you see in your local shop.

    People are going bigger, riders are going faster and new research is getting better at identifying how and why head injuries and concussions are happening at such an alarming rate. Low impact repeated blows or even a single impact at low speed can create 150 g's of force to the head. That's major concussion g force. Compare that to 170 gís which is the hardest hit recorded in football. You may think you just received a dazing hit from that small fall, but those small hits are really leading you down the path to something bad, possibly when you take that big hit. Make sense? A majority of helmets with dense hard foam inside are made to stop skull fractures, not concussions. Why not use a technology made to lessen and absorb the impact of low, medium and high impact blows? Demand more from helmet companies and ask questions about why they have not adapted their helmet technology to new research and tech on the market. Lot's to digest here, but we want this conversation to start now. There are a lot of great helmet companies doing a lot of great things, but we need to push protective technology to the next level now.
    I wasn't calling you out. I'm genuinely interested in the subject of head injuries. I've been around hundreds of them in my lifetime. Literally.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  21. #21
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    We are hoping to be part of the solution as well. It is an interesting time in head protection as it seems that there has finally been enough acknowledgement from the media (mainly it seems through football) that there are larger, potentially more important issues than just fracturing your skull. MIPS has definitely taken a step in the right direction by getting information out there relative to how rotation impacts the brain during a fall. We are trying to take that a step further and increase the protective properties for both rotation and blunt impacts. We are really not trying to spam for pure sales purposes as there wonít be a HIP-TEC helmet available until late 2014 (Just the issue of being included as a part of the manufacturing of the helmet rather than an insert).
    Our main goal with the post on this forum is to gauge what athletes are thinking about head protection and hopefully to engage in some meaningful dialogue on how to push technology along in the same way that bike technology has been pushed along.

    Also, we are trying to get more info up on the website, but it is incredible how much time it seems to take.

  22. #22
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    Happened to me once, woke up and found out that my bicycle was like 5-10 feet away.
    Helmet was all dirty up. I don't think I would have faired better if I was not wearing a helmet in a 7-10ft accidental drop.

    Just high praises for a $40 Giro helmet

  23. #23
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    How common are concussions from mtbing

    I've had zero concussions in my life and have never been unconscious. Played soccer for 30 years... my head made contact with a lot of things- other players heads, an occasional goal post, elbows, blocked a lot of shots on goal (had ball imprints on my face among other exposed skin areas for a couple of days sometimes). Also hit my head on other things off the pitch when I was young and "indestructible" aka stoooopid (more than 100 stitches in my head).

    In ~13 years of riding I've damaged 5 (Bell) helmets and I am thankful that I was wearing one in each instance. I also agree that some are more prone to concussions than others.

    This one was the hardest hit and I ended up with a Type II+ AC joint separation in my right shoulder. Cracked the helmet nicely.

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    I've read the statistics somewhere, but cycling is one of the most common ways to get a concussion. And, as mentioned above, helmets really aren't designed to prevent them. I've suffered two. One in the fall of 2011 while racing. Took three weeks to heal. I got a second in an accident working on a bike inmy garage this April. I'm still not back on a mountain bike yet. Head injuries are not o be taken lightly.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild View Post
    I got a second in an accident working on a bike inmy garage this April. I'm still not back on a mountain bike yet.
    Yikes. That's four+ months recovering.

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