HELMETS.. more expert opinion..- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    HELMETS.. more expert opinion..

    Well yesterday had me testing my helmet’s abilities to perform and thankfully it did just that.. but after spending 3hrs in A+E this morning, and being served by a consultant who is on loan from Stoke Mandeville Hospital (reknown in the UK as the head and spinal experts), I was given an equation to ponder over.

    We know cycle helmets are not in the same league as motor bike helmets and that they are designed to help protect the head if you come off your bike (not knocked off your bike). Well this doctor was saying to me that at speeds above 10-15mph that a helmet will certainly protect your head but will significantly (as in my case) add to spinal and neck injuries.

    Three x-rays and a scan this morning showed no cause for any further concerned but this guy was of the opinion that the damage to my neck muscles and the muscles around my collar bone were the direct result of the way my head was supported in my fall and it was akin to severe whiplash as seen in cars..

    He did not suggest not wearing a helmet but he said that he and many other head injury experts would like to see a completely redesigned cycle helmet that take their concerns into consideration..

  2. #2
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    I've had long discussions with a local trauma surgeon about this. She's never mentioned helmets adding to spinal injuries, but their ineffectiveness at speeds > 15mph. Either way, she recommends wearing a helmet, but also feels they need to be redesigned.

  3. #3
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    Maybe spinal injuries are more prevalent since people survive the severe head injuries. If you die from a head injury, then who cares about spinal injuries.

  4. #4
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    I dunno what's worse...dying from a head injury or being a para/quadri/plegic as a result of spinal injury.

    ...can't ride either way...

  5. #5
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    Isn't this like seatbelts where it they won't help you if you are going over XX miles an hour? There is only so much a helmet can do to save your noggin. >15 is pretty darn fast in the woods to bang your head against something.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_WD
    I dunno what's worse...dying from a head injury or being a para/quadri/plegic as a result of spinal injury.

    ...can't ride either way...
    There would still be the question of which is better, being wheelchair bound but possessing your mental faculties or being in a wheelchair with the conversational skills of a tomato. I realize that statement may be a bit offensive, but I think it gets the point across.

    Also, at first I read spinal/cervical injury as being spinal cord injury as well, but later in the post it appeared that the concern was more about damage to musculature.

    I've heard arguments in regards to motorcycle helmets that a helmet can do worse damage due to the "bounce" off of the roadway, with a counter-argument that that theory was false -- but I don't think I've seen anything that was conclusive either way, just people thinking out loud more than anything.

    Regardless, bike helmets are just like any other product. They have their limitations and there is always room for improvement.

  7. #7
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    Skinnydipping

    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1
    Isn't this like seatbelts where it they won't help you if you are going over XX miles an hour?
    Not wearing a seatbelt is only effective if you're a naked Aussie who's not having sex while driving.
    Slow-core. -.. .-. .. -. -.- .... --- -- . -... .-. . .--

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1
    Isn't this like seatbelts where it they won't help you if you are going over XX miles an hour? There is only so much a helmet can do to save your noggin. >15 is pretty darn fast in the woods to bang your head against something.

    Close... Bike helmets are only tested and rated for low speed collisions. That is also the speed of the impact. If you hit the ground and slide, the speed at which you hit the ground is slower than the speed you are moving across the ground. Still, studies show that helmets reduce or prevent 50%-70% of injuries, depending on which journals you read. At higher speeds, the helmets are less effective.

    15 mph is pretty fast on the trails, I'm doing good to average 10-12 mph during a ride on our local trails, 15 mph on some faster ones. We have one descent where I can easily reach 26-27 mph, I'd hate to crash into a tree going that fast.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by notaknob
    Not wearing a seatbelt is only effective if you're a naked Aussie who's not having sex while driving.
    wow, she's kind of hot
    2011 Niner EMD
    Wounds Heal, Chicks dig scars, Glory lasts FOREVER!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by EFMax
    He did not suggest not wearing a helmet but he said that he and many other head injury experts would like to see a completely redesigned cycle helmet that take their concerns into consideration..
    That seems a reasonable statement. I'd be interested in knowing more specifics of what they are concerned about.

    I've read that the design of some helmets lends to them catching the pavement in ways that would tend to twist your neck around while you are sliding. I've read at least one article advocating more rounded-off helmet styles.

    And I know that none of my helmets really do much for the back of my head. I'd not trust any of my helmets were I to simply lean over backwards and fall.

    Most helmets seem designed only to protect against a head-butt style of crash, and that's about it. I'm sure there's room for more research and improvement in the areas of design and safety.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by EFMax
    He did not suggest not wearing a helmet but he said that he and many other head injury experts would like to see a completely redesigned cycle helmet that take their concerns into consideration..

    Was he suggesting that the weight of the helmet resulted in the spinal/neck injuries or that the helmet not capturing the neck like a motorcycle helmet would resulted in injuries?

  12. #12
    Maaaaan
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    All I know, is that my helmets have saved me three times in my life.
    Twice on motorcycles, my helmets have sustained severe cracks. Those were Kevlar Shoei helmets.
    The third time was a low tree branch that I didn't see. My old Bell bike helmet did it's job.
    I got knocked over backwards off my bike, but all I had was some stiff muscles in my neck and back. The front of the helmet had some serious gouge action going on.
    Communist Party Member Since 1917.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaLD
    wow, she's kind of hot
    Yes she is. Too bad she was/is dumb.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in KC
    Was he suggesting that the weight of the helmet resulted in the spinal/neck injuries or that the helmet not capturing the neck like a motorcycle helmet would resulted in injuries?
    I think the concern was part, the helmet not offering the neck any support and also, that my impact was to the front left side of the temple, the helmet clearly shows that this would have been nasty without it and if the cracked casing is anything to go by then the impact would have had my skull stopped from moving but my body and its weight carrying on and there lays the issue.. and my sore neck and chest prove it..

  15. #15
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    Yeah but...

    Quote Originally Posted by EFMax
    I think the concern was part, the helmet not offering the neck any support and also, that my impact was to the front left side of the temple, the helmet clearly shows that this would have been nasty without it and if the cracked casing is anything to go by then the impact would have had my skull stopped from moving but my body and its weight carrying on and there lays the issue.. and my sore neck and chest prove it..

    Wouldn't the latter issue be present regardless of the type of helmet you were wearing? You could have been wearing anything on your head that didn't firmly fix your head to the rest of your body?

    I agree with the opinion but I also don't think that this concern is exclusive to "bike" helmets. The way to avoid this would be to wear a suit of armor that mechanically locks your head to the rest of your body (not especially practical) or stay away from situations that would cause this sort of trauma (also not very practical).... which leads me to this opinion: Mountain biking is an inherent risk activity, just like sky diving or scuba diving. If you can't accept the inherent risk, then you shouldn't mountain bike.

  16. #16
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    Ken's right. There are Leatt Braces which prevent excessive neck motion in a crash. They are pretty effective, but I wouldn't say 100%. Last winter I treated a motocrosser who took a headfirst dive following a 30 footer. He was wearing one of these braces along with a good helmet and other safety devices. He has some very serious brain injuries and some broken bones, but has long been released from the hospital with expectations of a good recovery. To my knowledge, he did not have any c-spine or back injuries.

    The nature of any helmet and how our necks work allow for extreme motion. I've heard anecdotal accounts of helmets increasing neck injuries due to the bulk behind the head forcing the head forward of a neutral position. I have not read any scientific studies to back these claims up.

    which leads me to this opinion: Mountain biking is an inherent risk activity, just like sky diving or scuba diving. If you can't accept the inherent risk, then you shouldn't mountain bike.
    - is absolutely correct.

    My choice is to take reasonable precautions to minimize this risk. Reasonable to me is a traditional helmet, gloves, and eye protection for mountain biking. Get me on a dirt bike, I wear a lot more.

  17. #17
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    did the doc say anything about the Leatt brace or others like it?

  18. #18
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    The docs I talk to think it is a great brace for someone in these types of sports. They say the braces have worked every time they have come across them. The docs I know are from both of our Level 2 Trauma Centers. They're large regional hospitals, seeing patients from all over this part of the state. The AMA (American Motorcycle Association) has been debating requiring them in all levels of competition, kind of like the Hans Device.

  19. #19
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    This discussion has been put out there by the ABATE motorcyclists for ages. (ABATE types are anti-helmet.) They claim increased chance of neck injury, so don't wear a helmet at all.

    I've had my motorcycle helmet save me once before, and my bicycle helmet a couple of times.

  20. #20
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    The autopsy revealed that he severed his spinal cord.

    BRIGHTON TWP. — A mountain biker was killed near Bradys Run Park Sunday afternoon, apparently when he lost control while riding down a steep hill.

    Brighton Township police Chief Howard Blinn said the body of Robert G. Anderson, 44, was found near Beacom Drive and Brady Ridge Road, just outside the county-owned park, around 3:15 p.m. A jogger made the discovery and contacted police, who said it appeared Anderson had been thrown from his bicycle and struck a rock with his head.

    “He had a severe laceration between his right eye and his right temple,” Blinn said, adding that the Beaver County Coroner’s office had not yet made a determination of the cause of Anderson’s death. “He was wearing a helmet, but it looked like the cut was just underneath it.”

    Anderson, of Long Island, Maine, had brought his 6-year-old daughter to Beaver County to visit his mother, New Brighton resident Betty Anderson; he left them at a playground in Bradys Run around 1:30 p.m. while he took a ride on a trail in and around the park, Blinn said.

    “It appeared to our officers that he lost control while coming down a steep hill and struck something,” Blinn said. “It appeared that he was thrown forward from the bike.”

    Anderson wasn’t carrying a wallet, but police were able to contact family by using the cell phone he had with him.
    No moss...

  21. #21
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    Certain fractures on your cervical spine will almost always cause instant death as the nerves that branch off on that part of your spinal cord control your breathing.

    ABATE is pretty anti-helmet, yet they require helmets worn at their classes. Anyone else think that's odd?

  22. #22
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    No...

    Quote Originally Posted by emtnate
    Certain fractures on your cervical spine will almost always cause instant death as the nerves that branch off on that part of your spinal cord control your breathing.

    ABATE is pretty anti-helmet, yet they require helmets worn at their classes. Anyone else think that's odd?

    Not so much odd as hypocritical.

  23. #23
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    How soon before we are encouraged to ride in a padded, bubble wrapped version of this?


    I mean really, I am a proponent of helmets but body armor, braces and the like? When do we just get plugged into the matrix and live the video of out lives?
    Remember when we were kids and our Mom's said we could not play in the mud? I'm making up for it now!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthemRider
    ... the conversational skills of a tomato...
    I already possess those skills
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProfGumby
    How soon before we are encouraged to ride in a padded, bubble wrapped version of this?


    I mean really, I am a proponent of helmets but body armor, braces and the like? When do we just get plugged into the matrix and live the video of out lives?
    really? Did you read the thread? Nobody is preaching maximum protection or that riders need to wear as much gear as possible.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1
    Yes she is. Too bad she was/is dumb.
    Whaddya mean "too bad"? Sometimes thems the best types!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidchicken
    Maybe spinal injuries are more prevalent since people survive the severe head injuries. If you die from a head injury, then who cares about spinal injuries.
    That's what I was thinking. Nobody looks at a someone with a broken skull and says, "Well at least his neck is OK."

    If you are in an inherently dangerous activity, you do what you can (within reason) to protect yourself. There are too many unpredictable variables for me to worry about what my helmet might do to my neck.
    You better just go ahead and drop that seatpost down to the reflector... the trail gets pretty rough down there.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by emtnate
    Certain fractures on your cervical spine will almost always cause instant death as the nerves that branch off on that part of your spinal cord control your breathing.

    ABATE is pretty anti-helmet, yet they require helmets worn at their classes. Anyone else think that's odd?
    It's been a long time since I was a member of ABATE, but I'm guessing it's not so much anti-helmet as it is anti-helmet law. They want to be able to make their own choice rather than be dictated to.

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabidchicken
    Maybe spinal injuries are more prevalent since people survive the severe head injuries. If you die from a head injury, then who cares about spinal injuries.
    Nice boltface!

  30. #30
    The White Jeff W
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    I rode with this on the other day. Not bad. A little hotter than I'm used to but other wise comfortable and definitely more protection than a typical bike lid.
    <a href="https://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n125/jeffw13/?action=view&current=Helmet-Bauer-HH50001.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n125/jeffw13/Helmet-Bauer-HH50001.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    No moss...

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