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Concussions and helmet profile

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  • Concussions and helmet profile

    Regarding helmet design...

    There seems to be 2 major styles: low profile which doesn't come down very far in back or to the ears and
    the jockey skull type which comes down farther in back and, in my case, bends my ears over.

    I feel more protected in the jockey skull type and I like the ones that come down the furthest. It feels like my whole head is inside the helmet.

    What I don't know is this. Does having more helmet down further protect you more from getting a concussion when you fall? Is the total area of the helmet used to dissipate the force of the fall or is the force mainly dissipated in the small area of contact of the head and the ground?

    If jockeys are required to wear jockey skull caps, then it would seem to me that the jockey skull caps afford more protection. Reed, can you shed light on this?

    Mary in Western NY
    http://www.BPEquine.com

  • #2
    Check out the post on the safety talks on Eventing Nation, from the USEA convention going on now. Basically, thicker is better. Low profile, slim fit will offer less protection, as one would imagine, as there is less material to absorb impact.
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thicker vs total area

      Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
      Check out the post on the safety talks on Eventing Nation, from the USEA convention going on now. Basically, thicker is better. Low profile, slim fit will offer less protection, as one would imagine, as there is less material to absorb impact.
      I agree that thicker would be better but I'm wondering about the effect of more total area (around the head) of thicker helmet. There must be some component of radially distributing the force of the blow so it would seem to me that having more area of the head under cover of helmet would lessen the effect of the blow to the head.

      Also wonder if there is any information out there relating the location (top of head, side of head, rear of head) of the impact to the probability and seriousness of a concussion. Obviously, the actual force of the impact would have to be taken into account.

      Mary in Western NY
      http://www.BPEquine.com

      Comment


      • #4
        www.pubmed.com

        Boatloads of information if you search it.

        However more importantly, Impact location influences the probability of sustaining a significant neck injury.

        Regards,
        Medical Mike
        Equestrian Medical Researcher
        www.equicision.com

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm usually quick to send folks to the Eventing FAQ Sticky at the top of the Forum (AKA do your own search rather than ask which xc boots are best/ what to do when you're in town for Rolex) but really, the OP brings up a good question and one I've often wondered about as well. I'm afraid I haven't had the time to wade through the convention info yet and while PubMed is fantastic, I'm not sure where to begin with a search for low vs higher profile riding helmets. Could someone in-the-know please enlighten us?
          Last edited by FoxChaser; Dec. 11, 2011, 10:36 PM. Reason: Oops! Misspelled "sticky"!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Specifically for helmets.....

            Search "Equestrian helmets (and concussion)".

            With the premise there may not be any published data available as much to do with profile is mfg. related.

            If one can draw an anology from other sporting helmets, data to support the SHAPE of the helmet (football vs. MX being the most common) having a positive influence on the rate of concussion is just not there. Padding discussion being a whole different issue.

            You might find something on the bike helmet safety institute website...They are the closest in terms of shape/padding.

            Regards,
            Medical Mike
            Equestrian Medical Researcher
            www.equicision.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Quiet simple no helmet will prevent a concusion. The sudden stop syndrom off hitting the ground will not prevent the jelly that is called brain move in your skull.
              Concusions will happen even if one does not test the thikness of ones skull.
              The force of deceleration known as g-load is what causes concusion not hitting your head.
              If you want to know what happens in your skull, take a bucket, fill it with water, and give it a kick, look at the water, thats the brain, the bucket your skull.
              Our helmets do not have enough shock absorbing material to make a huge differance, look at Automotif Helmets or Motorcycle Helmets for comparison.
              That I have no use for them, does not mean, that I don't know them and don't know how to use them.
              Caveman extraordinair

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Gnep,

                Yes, it's the deceleration that we have to address to prevent the concussion. This is why I think that being able to laterally spread the impact force in addition to cushioning might be a way to effect deceleration. There is something called Exo-CRT pads that are being used in football helmets now as well as for additional padding on the body. They have a Kevlar sandwich layer which is supposedly the critical component of the pad.

                Here is what caught my eye (my bolding)

                "It suppresses shock at the point of contact and then disperses most of it laterally away from the head or body. Traditional pads that are up to 3+ times thicker can’t come close."

                I'm certainly no engineer but this seemed like a big deal to me.

                Mary in western NY

                Comment


                • #9
                  Reading this makes me wish, again, still, that relative results of helmet testing were published. The SEI/ASTM system is pass fail based on a threshold that is probably at least 15 years old. It does not encourage helmet manufacturers to strive for better results and it actively withholds information from the buying public on which helmets perform better. Even something as basic as the car crash rating system, 4-star vs. 5-star etc would be better than what we have.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I got a concussion (don't know how to say this cause concussions - including mine - last for weeks!) earlier this fall when I fell off and smacked the back of my head. I used to play ice hockey and would fall all the time (that's why we were so much padding) but hardly anyone that I know got a concussion and I think its because we were mouthguards. When I fell off my horse and got my first concussion - I remember laying there thinking "I really wish I was wearing a mouthguard". Just my $0.02 from playing ice hockey for over 10 years...

                    I know that mouthguards have not been shown to reduce concussions and its just ancideotal (sp?) but I did wish I was wearing my mouthguard when I fell.
                    Last edited by mackandblues; Dec. 14, 2011, 08:00 PM. Reason: .
                    Originally posted by Sithly
                    do NOT give your 5 year old child a big bag of apples and send her out alone into a herd of 20-some horses to get mobbed. There are better ways to dispose of unwanted children.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Has anyone seen this before? Looks interesting...

                      http://www.mipshelmet.com/find-a-helmet
                      www.thehaybale.blogspot.com.au

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AusEventer View Post
                        Has anyone seen this before? Looks interesting...

                        http://www.mipshelmet.com/find-a-helmet
                        Looks very interesting. "manufactured to the highest European standards." However it looks like they have not spent the money to test it against the almost 2 decades old US standard and therefore we may not be ALLOWED to use it in US competition - Am I right?

                        USEA Rules: "must wear properly fitting protective headgear which passes or surpasses ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) standards for equestrian use and carries the SEI tag"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've seen data that shows the average rider mouth injury from a horse accident (kick etc) is upper side of 4 figures. A mouth guard would CERTAINLY cut down on that value. Just make sure it fits snugly to the teeth to minimize the risk of it becoming a choke hazard...

                          And correct, mouthguards are not effective in decreasing the risk of concussion..

                          Regards,
                          Medical Mike
                          Equestrian Medical Researcher
                          www.equicision.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mackandblues View Post
                            I got a concussion (don't know how to say this cause concussions - including mine - last for weeks!) earlier this fall when I fell off and smacked the back of my head. I used to play ice hockey and would fall all the time (that's why we were so much padding) but hardly anyone that I know got a concussion and I think its because we were mouthguards. When I fell off my horse and got my first concussion - I remember laying there thinking "I really wish I was wearing a mouthguard". Just my $0.02 from playing ice hockey for over 10 years...

                            I know that mouthguards have not been shown to reduce concussions and its just ancideotal (sp?) but I did wish I was wearing my mouthguard when I fell.
                            I did martial arts for awhile, mostly Brazilian jujitsu, and wore a mouthguard for that. When I got back into riding and hit the ground that first time I thought the same thing: 'I wish I had my mouthguard in'. I clacked my teeth hard coming off a bank and really wished I had my mouthguard in. There's a reason MMA fighters wear those things. I don't know if it would directly help with a concussion, but it does remove one source of jarring the brain.

                            Of course, you can't talk with the stupid thing in and I actually had problems with my jaw due to my habit of chewing or clenching on my guard. Custom fitted helped, but I still tend to clench my jaw and work on it like some horses chew on their happy mouth bits. I've considered wearing my mouthguard for cross country since I'm talking to my trainer less and it should be less of a problem, but it's hard to keep one clean when you're on a horse and you have to pop it out all the time.
                            http://thoughtfulequestrian.blogspot.com - My Ventures Into Eventing

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