Thoughts on Neck Braces for Karting?


(Tyler Shepard) #21

I’ve also been wearing a 360 for the past couple of years. While I have not been upside down while wearing it (I was upside down with an EVS on), I have been brake checked hard enough that I felt my head hit the flap in the back and feel that if anything It could possibly reduce whiplash type injuries.

My only complaint, which might be due more to my short neck, is that my helmet with a chin spoiler occasionally hits it when I’m trying to turn my head.

(James McMahon) #22

Couple of things about neck braces and collars

  • They were originally intended not to protect your neck, rather they were designed to prevent collarbone fractures.

  • There’s a huge disparity in what constitutes a “neck brace”. From a 1" foam collar to scientifically engineered and data driven products. So It’s important to compare like with like.

  • There’s a lack of public data on the efficacy of any of these. One would hope that insurance companies have such data, but in order to have that data, it would need to be reported to them too…

I avoid wearing mine if I can, only have a couple of foam collars, rather than something more substantial. But having said that, with zero time to train these days I’ll probably throw the foam collar on for a little head support.

(James McMahon) #23

Also, we’re going to do a #podcast episode on this topic.
Who do you think would have good insights on neck collars and/or karting safety in general? What questions do you have?

(Nik Goodfellow) #24

It might fairly difficult to find someone who won’t overly self-promote.

But i know Steve Tillett has had a lot to say on safety in the past. He was vehemently opposed to the roll over seats that Germany tried (or did) introduce for cadet drivers.

Its a time difference but I bet he’d be up for it.

(Aaron Hachmeister) #25

That’s where the EVS collar was designed for. As far as I can tell, neck injuries are less likely than collarbone fractures since the body is free and can mobe with the head for the most part.

(Davin Roberts Sturdivant) #26

It would be nice to speak with someone who is involved in motorsport safety, rather than a product manufacturer. As we’ve seen even in this thread, the majority of people who wear the neck brace are basically guessing, because it seems like a good idea. The fact that there aren’t any organization-wide regulation anywhere in karting also either means that it’s not a question that people have asked deep enough questions around.

Once we find people who are able to have a discussion like that, then it would be more useful to have a podcast episode. There isn’t a point in spending (see: wasting) people’s time on a “I don’t know, but I wear one”, or a “Just buy my gear” sort of conversation.

Let’s make sure people learn something :slight_smile:

(Nik Goodfellow) #27

Maybe try contacting the

Andy Mellor there is the only official source of information I’ve ever heard about neck braces, but that was back in 2010.

(Tyler Shepard) #28

And to be honest, I always wear mine more because I would rather not have to get used to it every time its mandatory.

(Ken Porter) #29

Don’t wait to wear a neck brace until you have been in a wreck. I have worn one from day one in a racing kart. I was hit from behind on a road course at about 50 mph last summer , high sided the kart and endoed 3 times on the asphalt. Separated shoulder but no neck injury. First thing doc asked was what safety equipment I was wearing. I wear an Atlas brace which is very comfortable. Never leave home without it.

(Nik Goodfellow) #30

I appreciate that people have had experiences where they wear a neck brace and have no had an injury. But it is all anecdotal evidence. I can do the same the other way.

I have rolled a kart three times, twice without impact from other karts. Once I hit a marshalls post at 90mph, came back into the track, hit by 5 karts going nearly flat, came out of kart flew through air, landed on ground, hit by 3 more karts (going slower by this time). No neck injury (a cracked shoulder blade), not even whip lash. All because I wasn’t wearing a neck brace.

Point is anecdotal evidence is pointless, I don’t even know of any karter that has broken their neck (i’m sure they are out there) so it hard to know with out independent lab based testing.

(Aaron Hachmeister) #31

I think it truly is just collarbone protection. With a free-body not strapped to the kart, there is little(er) risk in terms of neck injuries due to sudden acceleration. I don’t really get a choice right now as to whether I get to wear a neckbrace or not, but the discussion has been very good

(TJ Koyen) #32

While I agree a foam donut does more for you collarbone than your neck in an accident, every collarbone break I’ve seen in karting occurred while the driver was wearing a foam brace.

(Nic Pocol) #33

I can see some signs of intelligence in this area​:joy::joy:

(Davin Roberts Sturdivant) #34

Personally, I feel like if there was empirical evidence that it helped, we’d see more regulation around wearing them. Also we’d see more people trying to innovate the design, because you’d have to have them.

(Daniel Agee) #35

I wish it was an optional thing. I wouldn’t wear one. I feel like a neck brace/foam donut could/would be more important when races are faster and more aggressive (Skusa, CIK, etc) and yet these series don’t manadate them. At club races, racers should be more gentlemenly and be making less contact than we see at top events. My guess is that it is an insurance liability thing to reduce costs for the club rather than it necessarily being safer.

(Tyler Shepard) #36

He club series here in Portland is split between two tracks. One has IKF affiliation and the other has a different insurance. The IKF track requires it along with the NW gold cup series but the other track doesn’t. It causes issues with drivers quite a bit who don’t wear them.

(Terence Dove) #37

I think research did go into this, because the FIA did become concerned about the weight of crash helmets with young drivers, and produced new standards in 2007. One of the guys on the project Dr Terry Trammell is a spinal injuries specialist now with IndyCar. Maybe he would be a good guy to contact with respect to the subject.

My speculation is that they saw the additional weight of an adult crash helmet was a problem for kids, such that it was worth reducing the mass of the helmet and therefore impact protection, to protect from added risk to spinal injury.

Therefore they likely looked closely at spinal injury risk and efficacy of additional neck protection, particularly for young kids. My further speculation is they rejected the idea.

It would be really cool to find out more, maybe someone here has contacts at Indycar and can reach Dr Trammell somehow for comment.

(Lee Swindell) #38

The argument I’ve heard against horse collars is that the bottom edge of the helmet compresses into their soft foam during an acceleration event. This creates a fulcrum around which the head/ helmet pivots, hyperextending the opposite side of the neck.

As I understand, leatts and the like are less inclined to allow this.

(31colm) #39

Not mandatory in Canada or in Europe.

(Aaron Hachmeister) #40

Is that possibly because motocross, where the braces are more common, isn’t as popular there?