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Are Helemts saving people?

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Tom183
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Postby Tom183 » Sat Oct 13, 2007 2:04 pm

OzBungy wrote:In fact, there are more statistics that show you are worse off wearing a helmet.
Let's see them - you have sources?

I'm sure there are people who believe they are better off without a seatbelt too, thinking that they might drown or burn to death if they can't unbuckle - but the reality is that if you are wearing a seatbelt, you're more likely to be conscious and able to unbuckle, vs being knocked out. And drowning/burning deaths are a tiny percentage of the total - the vast majority of vehicular deaths are are impact-related.

If your head makes contact with a hard object (or if a hard object makes contact with your head), it's obvious that you're better off with a helmet.

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Postby geir » Sat Oct 13, 2007 3:15 pm

Started off snowkiting first and then went on to kitesurfing. Theres about 20-30 people snowkiting overhere and maybe 5 kitesurfing where only two of us hold upwind and jump. Being the first active kitesurfer (over here) my helmet use promoting hasnt caught on for the other guys kitesurfing. Which I think is wierd because the few others are beginners and there's no available lessons here in the middle of the north atlantic.

Somehow the trend is EVERYONE using helmets on snow but not so many on water. This is probably the same for the rest of the world. Few tens of years ago nobody used them skiing or boarding on snow. Today it's become almost like a fashion trend so of course everybody sees it quite normal to use one snowkiting.

Almost two years ago I was snowkiting on a local glacier in gusty conditions close to the edge of the glacier (stupid I know). I came in hard from a jump, lost one ski and while trying to gain control on one ski I briefly lost sense of kite steering. Being a 7m foil it went into a loop. Next thing I know is being horizontal in the air watching lava formed rocks in front of me closing at very high speed. Quick release or not, nothing could save me from the mess I wass in, apart from my protective gear. I got dragged through this stuff a few meters at high speed.
To cut a long story short I had a bruise on my forhead (from under the helmet), knees (from under a knee guard) and ripped the back of my west (was wearing a back protector). The one place I didn't have protection was the front torso where the I got a broken rib and seriously brused liver (It luckily held and didnt start to bleed from the inside). That caused me a week in the hospital and a couple of months in recovery. (BTW force of the impact broke the bar in half)

This accident made me think. Risks involved, family, mortgage, etc. No one in my family expected me to quit doing what I do, especially cause they think I am safety concerned.
So today I wear a helmet and impact west while kitesurfing. During snowkiting I wear the full impact gear (incl front protection). And the most important af all, follow the rule of safety buffer to full extend aswell as avoiding not so good weather conditions. (Considering buying a full blown monster 4x4 truck to get to the middle of the glacier to start the session from)

I bore my snow/kitesurfing buddies to death with this wartime story. My bottom line: gear up and get out there as fast as you can (away from beach, onto the snowfield). Don't think experiance can save your ass and make you get away with doing stupid things (like I did).

Sorry for the long post,
Geir (the safety geek)

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Postby hleeb9 » Sat Oct 13, 2007 3:21 pm

OzBungy wrote:In fact, there are more statistics that show you are worse off wearing a helmet.
It could be that people, who do not suffer head injuries, just happen to wear helmets for some completely unrelated reason, and that they would be just as fine without helmets.

It could also be that people contract aids as a punishment for their bad behavior, and that comdom users stay HIV negative, not because they use condoms but because they are just good people.

It could also be that the breaks in my car are completely useless, and that the car would stop at the right moment anyway, irrespective of whether or not I apply the brakes.

But who would volonteer to find out?

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Postby OzBungy » Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:23 pm

I never said that helmets are bad or that people should not wear helmets or anything like that. I just said statistics are unreliable and can be interpreted any way you want. Even helmets.org is suitably guarded about the provenance of the statistics they present.

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Postby RickI » Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:24 am

ed257 wrote:Rick I,

I realize that this is difficult, but...

As you go through your data for kiting injuries and deaths are you able to project a guesstimate at how many of these people would likely have been fine if they had been wearing a helmet?

Ed
Hello Ed,

We'll never know. The variables are too numerous and in some cases complex. The problem is further compounded by information limitations in these sad accidents. I made a reasonable estimate within the constraints of the data in my opening post here.

There are a number fatalities particularly some in low wind speeds that suggest helmet use might have made a major difference.

Such as:

A fatality in 11 to 12 kts. involving a kiter with several years experience after he hit a rock on the shore.
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=541

A rider with about four years experience was walking back in about 12 kts. after doing a short downwinder. He was lofted and dragged into a rock covered swale at relatively low speed and suffered serious head injury. He remained in a coma for 11 days and died. Many local kiters started using helmets as a result of this accident.
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=544

A fatal board leash impact in the absence of a helmet.
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=558

A new kiter caught by a summer squall, tea bagged across the beach, lofted into a tree and dropped to the pavement. He entered into at least a 5 week coma but eventually came out of it with what may be lasting cognitive impairment.
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=743

Survivorship and injury in higher wind speeds and impacts become more problematic but may still within reason. I am not sure how fast I was going when I bounced off a house. Breaking through 50 or so feet of seagrape trees thankfully slowed me down. Despite that I still covered 150 ft. horizontally, slammed into a wood rail, was wearing an old skateboarding helmet with poor padding and still lived. I even recovered fully in time. So, helmets can do some remarkable things even in higher speed impacts at times. If you slam full on head first into something hard at 40 mph, I would guess it would be unlikely a helmet would do much good for you. It is like asking will a seatbelt save your life in a 100 mph collision with a massive concrete wall? You also have neck fractures to worry about which can be lethal all by themselves independent of traumatic brain injury. Still, it goes back to the question, "what sort of accident are you going to have?"

There are still more, just need to go over my information.

FKA. In

Transcibed by:
Rick Iossi
Last edited by RickI on Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby FredBGG » Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:20 am

I always wear a helmet and an impact vest even in light wind.
Even in really light wind, but that is also because I fly a Speed 2 19 in low winds, but it still has a ton of power.

One day I was out in wind averaging about 20 mph.
I did a jump and caught a sudden sharp gust while looping the kite.
I was yanked hard and sort of flung up in the air somehow sooting the board way up in the air above me. Well anyway I hit the board as I was going up and it was going down. It wacked my helmet so hard that the boards fin went through the outer shell of the helmet.
This all happened despite the fact that I WAS NOT USING A BOARD LEASH. I never do unless I am out for a soul session in 8 to 10 mph winds where body dragging upwind against the waves is almosr impossible.

Anyway if I did not have a helmet on I would most likely have been really badly hurt or maybe killed.

Wearing a kayaking style helmet is really a very small commitment but what it can do for you if you have an accident is priceless.

Kiting without a helmet is pretty crazy :roll:

Cheers

Fred

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Postby FredBGG » Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:35 am

OzBungy wrote: In fact, there are more statistics that show you are worse off wearing a helmet.

Pure unaduterated ripe warm organic BULL SHIT.

Next time someone wants to hit you in the head with a baseball bat make sure yo are not wearing a helmet..... hell it cold be more dangerous with one of those deadly killer helmets.

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Postby Bidello » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:38 am

@ Geir: thanks for your post m8, I really enjoyed reading it. I wish more people were as safety-concerned as you are.

Helmet and impact vest are like the seatbelt in a car. Never go out without it.

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Postby RickI » Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:44 am

Saw five kiters in helmets today at the launch. That may be a record and perhaps even a trend.

BTW, I don't recommend picking and choosing when to wear a helmet based upon conditions. Best just to wear one anytime you have a kite up. There are plenty of lighter wind injuries out there. Just heard about another one tonight in 15 to 17 kts. Beyond that, there is nothing to say another kite might not interact with yours, hit or tangle into it. Twice the kite and less than half the control.

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Tom183
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Postby Tom183 » Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:46 pm

RickI wrote:BTW, I don't recommend picking and choosing when to wear a helmet based upon conditions. Best just to wear one anytime you have a kite up. There are plenty of lighter wind injuries out there. Just heard about another one tonight in 15 to 17 kts. Beyond that, there is nothing to say another kite might not interact with yours, hit or tangle into it. Twice the kite and less than half the control.
There's a better reason: if you're not in the habit of wearing a helmet, you WILL forget it, even when you need it. Forget to put it in the car, forget to take it out, forget to put it on. If you're in the habit, you will feel naked without it, and it will always be there when you need it.


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