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How important is it? Helmets

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  • How important is it? Helmets

    My helmet took a hit last night (and yes, my head was in it). It looks perfectly fine other than a small scrape on the shell. I know I am supposed to toss it out and buy a new one, but I'm finding it really hard to toss what seems to be a perfectly good helmet and spend the big bucks on a new one. I will do what I am supposed to, but could someone point me to the research that explains why it is necessary? I get the general idea, but I'd like to know the science behind.

    I'd also like to know the research behind the reccomendation to replace a helmet after it is five years old. My father took Styrofoam from a chemical experiment to an industry, so I grew up surrounded by it and it never appeared to degrade over time. I'm my father's daughter - I want to know the details of the why's.

  • #2
    Helmets protect by taking the impact that would've rattled your brain. Once they're whacked, the inner lining compresses in the impact zone and leaves that spot less resilient. A little impact won't damage your helmet much, but are you willing to accept a little damage to your brain if you just happen to whack that same spot again? Not me.

    Most of the more expensive helmets are covered under a replacement policy that helps defray the cost. Take it, or send it, back to the tack shop you bought it from, with a short note describing the damage incident. Within a year, replacement cost may be as little as 60% off wholesale... 18 months, less off, but still better than paying full price... some even go to two years out from date of purchase. Worth it, to have a totally functional hat.

    As for how the foam degrades, I'm no chemist, but everything degrades eventually. Helmets are exposed to a lot of fluctuating temperatures, which probably hastens the process somewhat.
    Patience pays.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd also like to know the research behind the reccomendation to replace a helmet after it is five years old.
      yes there have been some lively discussions on this over the years I'm fine with using an older helmet that's been stored properly & used very little/not at all: if the helmet is used daily & subjected to hot/cold, dry/wet, all those little nudges & rolls, then I thnk that 5 years is plenty long to expect optimum function & it's time to get that new helmet.

      I've seen what happens with well loved styrofoam boxes that get used as ice bins/baths, freezer storage bins etc in a chemistry/biochemstry lab & after a couple years, they aint so pretty anymore (course that is a much tougher environment than most helmets inhabit).

      Most helmet manufacturers offer replacement policies, I believe Tipperary & Troxel are 1 year, with CO & GPA having rather longer policies (but value drops pretty dramatically after 2 years).

      Comment


      • #4
        Ok. So your brain is not worth the $100 to get a new helmet.

        Fine. Have at it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Also the safety standards have improved over time. So while your styrofoam may still look intact, depending on how old your helmet is, it may have less protection (and testing behind it) than the new ones.
          www.TackMeUp.com
          'What's in your trunk?'
          Free tools for Trainers and Riders

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            mjhco, did I not say that I am buying a new helmet? Why are you feeling the need to be nasty? I am an instructor and I want to be have plenty of ammnuition to convince my students to follow the guidelines. Sorry you're having a bad day.

            Comment


            • #7
              The OP didn't say she was looking for anecdotes, or for people to advise her to buy a new helmet. She's already doing that, as noted in her original post. She's looking for the evidence to back up the advice that one should toss out an old helmet after a fall or after 5 years. I'm another who likes to know the why's (etc) behind something; I don't like just taking something at face value. I think it is a great question and would also be interested to know if anyone has any pertinent links to some such studies???
              ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
              ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

              Comment


              • #8
                The ASTM is a great place to start.
                http://www.astm.org/index.shtml

                They have a wealth of journal articles available if you use the search function.
                Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

                A Voice Halted

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thank you, Grey Street! Yes, that is what I'm looking for. I know that when people understand the detailed "whys" they are more compelled to comply than when they are just told they should do something.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ane people get frustrated with me when I ask why.....I just want to understand so I can remember and do things properly!

                    Yes, there are articles that can better describe the WHYS of replacing helmets. Helmets are designed to absorb impact. That area actually weakens and decreases the effectiveness of the helmet if it is used again and has another impact.

                    Good Luck....I always wear one....cracked on and was upset I had to buy a new one, but I had a major concussion and was not dead! Yes, I will wear one always now...and replace it if I fall and hit my head!
                    Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                    Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have always been interested to hear a story of somebody that has had an injury attributed to an old or non-replaced helmet (either one over 5 years old, or one that had been worn in a previous fall). I've heard plenty of stories about people without helmets, but never one about a person that should have replaced a helmet, but didn't.

                      Does anybody have one of those stories about an old helmet? I replace mine, anyhow, because after 3 years I honestly NEED to replace it no matter what. But I'm just curious to hear of a story that proves the need.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Anecdotes regarding too-old helmets would be interesting to hear.


                        GG - it comes down to the material properties and elasticity of the internal materials. The shock leaves it permanently compressed and therefore unable to compress to absorb additional shocks.

                        I am guessing that the 5 year recommendation is also related to the fatigue of the material - in use, and through the temperature cycles it will tend to compress at all points which contact the plastic of the helmet.

                        (I don't know what the links in the thread contain - don't have a chance to follow them right now. As someone interested in material properties, I think this is a great discussion! Yes, I'm a nerd.)
                        Originally posted by Silverbridge
                        If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rhiannonjk View Post
                          I have always been interested to hear a story of somebody that has had an injury attributed to an old or non-replaced helmet (either one over 5 years old, or one that had been worn in a previous fall). I've heard plenty of stories about people without helmets, but never one about a person that should have replaced a helmet, but didn't.

                          Does anybody have one of those stories about an old helmet? I replace mine, anyhow, because after 3 years I honestly NEED to replace it no matter what. But I'm just curious to hear of a story that proves the need.
                          I doubt these are common because a helmet can look fine from the outside- while actually being fairly damaged on the inside. When you fall (in the good looking but damaged helmet), you have no way of knowing 1: that the helmet wasn't as protective as it should have been and 2: that your injuries are more severe than they needed to be as a result.

                          For an anecdote like this to exist, someone would have to know their helmet was damaged (hard) and then ride in it again, and fall again. Or, they would have to fall in it (the second time) and send it out for testing (which might reveal more than one impact point).

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            I tried the ASTM website and could find very little information. If anyone out there has links to other research on riding helmets I'd be very interested.

                            TIA!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rhiannonjk View Post
                              I have always been interested to hear a story of somebody that has had an injury attributed to an old or non-replaced helmet (either one over 5 years old, or one that had been worn in a previous fall). I've heard plenty of stories about people without helmets, but never one about a person that should have replaced a helmet, but didn't.

                              Does anybody have one of those stories about an old helmet? I replace mine, anyhow, because after 3 years I honestly NEED to replace it no matter what. But I'm just curious to hear of a story that proves the need.
                              In November I fell off the horse I was riding, landing flat on my back and bouncing my head against rather hard ground, somewhat frozen ground. I knew I should replace it, but I never pass the tack store in my daily routine and kept pushing it off. In January I fell in almost the exact same way, except this time when my head bounced, a piece of the styrofoam back came off (wearing a troxel sport helmet that costs about $30) and my head hurt for the first time ever after falling off. The second fall was in a sand indoor arena. The second fall was the only time I have ever had a headache after a fall off a horse and I fallen plenty of times!

                              I went out and bought two helmets so that the next fall, I can replace the helmet immediately.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Well this site has loads of info if you're willing to sift through the archives ... but it's also the sort of site that I assume everyone is aware of ... but included the link anyway

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I too would like to know, This is interesting!

                                  My family was just cleaning our our storage and I threw out my Troxel. I loved that helmet, but it was over 5 years old, and the shell was totally warped, I think the So. Cal sun did it?

                                  Everyone in my family said to keep it, it's never been in a fall, but I don't trust it with a warped shell. I know the styrofoam does the protecting, but If the shell is warped from the heat, I would think the styrofoam may be damaged too? They also looked at me funny because I said it expired. They don't get it, but I'm not risking my head.

                                  I have another helmet anyways, and I'm not even riding now.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Here's a whole newsletter from EMSA on the topic:

                                    http://www.emsaonline.net/Archives/E...10_9-27-10.pdf

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Ajierene View Post
                                      In November I fell off the horse I was riding, landing flat on my back and bouncing my head against rather hard ground, somewhat frozen ground. I knew I should replace it, but I never pass the tack store in my daily routine and kept pushing it off. In January I fell in almost the exact same way, except this time when my head bounced, a piece of the styrofoam back came off (wearing a troxel sport helmet that costs about $30) and my head hurt for the first time ever after falling off. The second fall was in a sand indoor arena. The second fall was the only time I have ever had a headache after a fall off a horse and I fallen plenty of times!

                                      I went out and bought two helmets so that the next fall, I can replace the helmet immediately.
                                      So... replace your helmet, or you might get a headache. Great! That is the first time I have seen any story about not-replacing a helmet, but it doesn't exactly... um... instill fear into the hearts of the stingy.

                                      (again, I totally replace mine, but I'm curious in this regard if others have stories)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Interesting ... I fell earlier this week. The initial impact was cushioned by the right seat cushion, but there is a little sand scuff on the helmet (rolling fall). The helmet is about 2 months old. I got a headache, but it was from neck strain, not impact.

                                        I wonder about replacing the helmet, as well. I don't have to make any purchases right now because I bought two at the same time.
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                                        Comment

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