Thoughts on Neck Braces for Karting?


(Kelsy Rogers) #61

They prevent lawsuits by not making claims. You will absolutely never see a guarantee from these companies nor will you see any claims that it even helps in an injury. This is also the main reason they don’t send products to be independently tested. Unfortunate these neck braces have arguably made many neck and back injuries worse according to doctors, and people have tried to go after Atlas and leatte, there was even a class action lawsuit started by some AMA members.

Unfortunately these companies have spent more money in developing legal jargon to not be liable than they have in R&D for their products. This is a topic that I have researched many times throughout the years as a former MX racer. If you look at the websites for these braces you will see many testimonials but the companies that make them won’t go past the word protection to describe their product. Suing them is like suing Simpson because you crashed because your race shoe ripped.

(TJ Koyen) #62

I wear a slim foam one when required and none when not required.

I’m in the same camp as Nik on this one. The foam collars do more to protect against collar bone injuries in my experience than anything. That being said, I’ve seen people break collar bones while wearing them too.

(Marin Vujcich) #63

I have talked to one driver who was a professional driver for some time. He and his fellow high level karters held the opinion, that they caused more injuries. He sighted that once you are race fit in the neck area that damage from even a rollover is unlikely.
Pretty sure he was speaking from experience about the rollovers…
At the end of the day if there was some tangible research available the FIA-CIK would be all over it. In this world of litigation they could not ignore it if there was some benefit. Look at Hans devices, evidence and research is there, hence now pretty much mandatory everywhere for racing. I have seen a few overturned karts in all classes, and the main injuries always seem to be legs and hands. And yes these people did skid on their lids as well. Anecdotical at best I know.

my 2 cents worth anyway

(Eric Gunderson) #64

Did some poking around in United States about why there is no formal CIK/FIA or SFI/ Snell research, and basically got the impression I was ‘poking my nose where it didn’t belong’ from researchers.

I really, really disagree with the sentiment that there isn’t a neck brace on the market that is worse for you than wearing nothing. Of course, without formal and engineered testing that is done by an independent agency it is extremely hard to say.

I will say that I did get insight into the CIK/FIA looking into the braces, and they did implement the in Europe for junior racing for a period of time, but concluded that they were not worth the effort at the time–I think this was during the foam donut era.

Still extremely perplexed why these devices are not held to a safety standard or uniform standard.

(Kelsy Rogers) #65

It’s not extremely surprising when you consider who developed these braces. i.e retired motocross racers that needed jobs past racing. These were products that were rushed to market to take advantage of people’s safety concerns while riding moto. I have a racing companion who broke several vertebrate in his back and the doctors concluded it was from the brace. What they couldn’t conclude and this is they key point that saves these brave manufacturers time and time again is when the doctor can’t conclude if the injury would be worse/better without the protection. I really hate that the can of worms have been opened on this but I feel these brace manufacturers need to be held accountable. As far as I’m concerned it seems without racing karts they would have no business because the motocross world has moved on past them. When you go to a track 5 years ago everyone had them. Now no one does.

(Roger Ruthhart) #66

I might point out in Marin 's comment that most kart racers are not professional drivers and not necessarily ace fit. They race for fun on the weekend and go to work or school on Monday. Nothing is certain but for these kinds of racers (god bless them) any protection is better than nothing.

(James McMahon) #67

I think that’s the whole premise of the discussion though.

We can’t say (objectively) the benefit outweighs the risk. So is it actually protecting?

Plus there’s massive variance in products from foam doughnuts to more complex options.

There’s also the discussion and variance of what they are designed to do. Some are collar bone protection (which arguably passes force to the spine that would otherwise would be dissapated by fracturing the collar bone) others (we are told) are for neck protection.

There’s more questions than answers and safety is a very personal thing.

(Trey Shannon) #68

I’m of a similar opinion to Nik and TJ on this one. If it’s required, I wear as thin a collar as possible. If it’s not required, I don’t wear one. I honestly feel safer without it. Neck collars are designed to keep the head from moving too much to prevent injuries like whiplash, and most don’t do a very good job of that. They’re not designed to dissipate any energy, and in some impacts can actually do the opposite, directing it and concentrating force into the neck. Like Davin said, there is no clinical or even anecdotal evidence to support the use of a neck collar. In my experience, the best thing you can do to protect your neck, head, and collar bones, is to strengthen your neck.

(Jason Allan) #69

The FIA CIK is theoretically the top of our sport, at least the only body I know of that has international scope and some how has its own money.
It does really make me wonder why they haven’t made any recommendations on the safety of Neck braces, considering their link to Formula 1, who have become so safety conscious.

I bought one when I got my KZ, as a precaution as quite a few others in that class used them. Now I must admit I’m not confident to wear it, because the “Better than nothing” argument is turning into “it could be worse”.
Just the situation where a governing body needs to step in and do some research.

(Nik Goodfellow) #70

My understanding (and I’ve posted about it on these forums somewhere) is they did look at it nothing happened. The closest thing to a quote a I have is:

“At the Watkins Lecture at the Autosport Show (2013) Andy Mellor, the Technical Advisor for the FIA Safety Institute said that regarding HANS type devices for karting that the jury is still out on these and they are struggling to get answers as to whether they actually do aid safety or not and are currently devising a new test to help with a decision. So there should be something in a while.”

Seen as they haven’t done anything yet I have to assume they either decided neck/brain stem injuries weren’t a big enough concern in karting, they couldn’t come up with a good enough test, or the theory showed there was no benefit (so no point in testing). It would help if they told karting why though.

(additional info edit) Additionally, Leatt said in 2008 they were being testing by the CIK (ekartingnews forum post) and in 2010 said they were being working with SFI. I can’t find any evidence that anything came of those discussions.

Here’s the SFI comment.

(Nick Sears) #71

Recently read this thread and have been considering various options (including no brace at all). Just learned today via email from Leatt USA that their Kart Neck Brace has been discontinued.

(Dom Callan) #72

Wierd. It was popular and in my opinion, the best one for the job.

(Peter Zambos) #73

Leatt may have been the only company that produced a karting-specific brace. They still make the rest of their line, and what it’s worth, their newer motocross braces are superior to their karting brace which hadn’t been developed since being released over a decade ago. The EVS and Alpinestars braces that are popular were not develeped with karting in mind, but motocross. So, even though we may no longer have a brace that is karting specific, we’re not really at a loss of for safety gear, if you’re of the mind to use a brace.

(Justin La Pine) #74

Got a question on the Leatt devices. I am just getting back into karting agian. I ordered the EVS 4 but it is too thick…I don’t have much of a neck. So it pushes up on my helmet and limits my range of motion of my head when trying to look around. Anyways do you fellas have good suggestions on neck collar?? I am interested in the LEATT style devices I am just wondering if there is height adjustment? I measured and I need something 2" or less. Looking up lowpro collars didn’t really bring up good results.

Glad I found this place!! Thanks for the feedback

(Michael Zahorski) #75

From my experience with what I’ve seen and we’ve used, the EVS is the lowest profile neck protector. The Leatt is a little more restrictive since it’s more designed to prevent spinal movement. We had a friend using one last year, and they switched to the EVS this year to get more movement and less restrictive. Most of the drivers in our area use the EVS.

(Peter Zambos) #76

May I add that Leatt has multiple models. Though there is one that states it is specifically designed with karting in mind, it is among their more restrictive, and there are many models that will still be effective in karting. I use a Leatt GPX 5.5,
which offers greater range of motion than the kart model.
It could be that, in this case, you might want to review the sizing charts. You may benefit from going down a size.

(Justin La Pine) #77

Thanks for the feed back…I was trying to to break the bank but good think my wife doesn’t see the CC bills !! lol

(Justin La Pine) #78

Thanks for the feedback. I do like the EVS but I have found some of the foam ones are a bit thinner…but not the same protection as the EVS. I will just try some out!!

Thanks agian

(Curtis J Cooksey) #79

Acceleration Kart Racing has the Leatt Moto Kart neck brace in stock and it has quite a bit of adjustment.
Here is a link:
Since it has been discontinued it is on sale for $120.

(Dom Callan) #80

Good deal. I’d hop on it if I didn’t need a new frame.