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Helmet research

 Poster: A snowHead
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@abc, Agreed!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Oh no, the Telegraph controversial/attention-grabbing/click-bait headline has worked here, hasn't it?

However the link in @gorilla's post to the research didn't work for me, so I tried https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180614213630.htm and a couple of others.

Below is from abstracts I found (my underlining).


METHODS:
From 2012 to 2014, data on the injured population were collected by physicians in on-mountain clinics in 30 French ski resorts, and interviews were conducted on the slope to sample a noninjured control population. Two sets of cases (1425 participants with TBI and 1386 with OTHI) were compared with 2 sets of controls (2145 participants without injury and 40,288 with an injury to a body part other than the head). The effect of helmet use on the risk of TBI and OTHI was evaluated with a multivariate logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, sport, skill level, crash type, and crash location.


So they tried to take all the factors into account, probably mostly from questionnaires.

. . from Science Daily . .

These case control studies led to several key findings:

* Non-helmet-wearing participants were more likely to sustain injuries (TBI, OTHI, and injuries to other body parts) than helmet-wearing participants.

* When involved in a traumatic event, non-helmet-wearing participants had a greater risk of sustaining OTHI. However, the effect of helmet use on the risk of TBI (and concussion) was not significant.

* Participants with low skill levels, those aged less than 16 and over 50 years, and snowboarders, were at higher risk of head injury. Collisions and accidents in a snow park were more likely to induce head injury than other traumatic incidents.


I'm sure they tried to take everything into account in the study. Nevertheless I wonder if more of those people who go to snowparks etc. who I observe predominantly do wear helmets are people who are more prone to landing on their heads in high-energy impacts, as opposed to other sorts of injuries they might incur, and that this is skewing the statistics to give a strange result? If someone is doing e.g. inverted aerials, how can the helmet compensate for the increased voluntary proportion of risk to the head and upper body?
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Graham Warren wrote:
@abc, Yes. Yes they should! And be clad in bubble wrap. Been to A&E so many times we have a loyalty card.
I wear one around them when skiing but I prefer not to wear one. If I'm on my own or with growd ups doing easy stuff I'll leave it at home but if I'm pushing myself I'll stick one on.


Ironically, that's the wrong way round. There's no point to the helmet at 60,70,80 mph, but there is when you're pootling around on blues... It always makes me laugh when those guys you see doing dare devil things skiing on videos are wearing helmets - or if people complain that they're not wearing them.

The blow-up one would be a struggle to make work skiing, I'd guess? It presumably activates when it detects you in freefall; even beginners manage little jumps. No use if you hit a tree, there's nothing to detect until you're dead... And absolutely no use in a park, it would be going off the whole time!
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abc wrote:
I actually try to wear one most of the time, except the few occasions when I forgot them at home. It's so bloody cold without it.

Others may prefer the opposite. Maybe it's too hot for some people... whatever.

I just don't get the religious preaching of helmet Nazis.


To be fair, it happens both ways! (in fact I'd argue it happens more the other way). I completely agree, different strokes for different folks. If want to wear one, wear one - if not don't... easy! It's just when people start dismissing any kind of scientifc evidence because it doesn't suit their particular view point that frustrates me.
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Quote:
..... There's no point to the helmet at 60,70,80 mph, but there is when you're pootling around on blues... It always makes me laugh when those guys you see doing dare devil things skiing on videos are wearing helmets - or if people complain that they're not wearing them.

Really? So how long have downhill racers been wearing helmets?
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@Handy Turnip, it does indeed happen both ways but, with almost saturation helmet usage, it normally starts with "don't you think you should wear a helmet?" and, at that point, I generally feel like beating someone around the head, in a sort of ironically violent act.

Quote:
If someone is doing e.g. inverted aerials, how can the helmet compensate for the increased voluntary proportion of risk to the head and upper body?

That's right, it can't, because the most common cause of serious injury in park and pipe is a broken neck. Some argue that the presence of a helmet can make the neck injury worse than it might have been. Either way it is probably life changing. Ask a ski patroller and they'll happily tell you where the serious injuries occur. The issue is that the industry's version of selling safety is to wear protection (because that's where the dollars are) and they rarely talk about good decision making and technique with the same enthusiasm. So, there is almost saturation helmet usage yet the ski patrols, helicopters and clinics are still doing very brisk business. Helmets and Michael Schumacher gets all the column inches but, as we all know, there is much more to it - lazy journalism.
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@Pruman +1.

Hmmm? Does it depend on where you do your snowports? Is it just an Alpine paradox?

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-52755-0_2

New Zealand Snow Sports Injury Trends Over Five Winter Seasons 2010–2014
Ski patrol national incident data were analysed in New Zealand for alpine skiing and snowboarding injuries from 4 June 2010 to 9 November 2014.
Conference paper First Online: 14 April 2017


(Excerpts)
. . . . Over five winter seasons, there were 5,861,643 visitations and 18,382 incidents. The injury rate per 1000 skier/boarder days was relatively constant (3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 2.7, and 3.1, respectively). Falls accounted for the injury mechanism in 74.3% of all injuries. . .
. . . Despite increased helmet usage (42–83%), there was a very likely increase in concussion (1.29, 99% CI 1.06–1.57). . .
. . Further research is needed to determine whether wearing a helmet increases reckless behaviour in some age groups. . .
. . . Head injury was higher in advanced and intermediate skiers wearing helmets than novices; 23, 25, and 10%, respectively. For helmet-wearing snowboarders, head injury increased in advanced, intermediate, and novice snowboarders by 41, 29, and 30%, respectively (when compared with those not wearing a helmet). Overall, there was a 26% increased risk of head injury in skiers wearing helmets (hazard ratio 1.26, 99% CI 1.05–1.52) and a 36% increase in head injury in snowboarders wearing helmets (hazard ratio 1.36, 1.05–1.52). . .
(2010-2014) . . There was no decline in the incidence of concussion, dislocation, soft tissue injuries, or sprains. . .
. . .Helmets have been proven to dampen forces and protect the head from injury when skiing or snowboarding with no increased risk of neck injury. Helmets are designed to limit linear acceleration to no more than 300 g following a 2.0 m drop onto a steel surface (translating to 27.7 km/h). Helmets have been proven to reduce head abrasions, lacerations, and mild concussion. The increase in concussion rates raises concern that those wearing helmets are overestimating the protective capacity of the helmet and are taking greater risks with speed and/or jump-height than those not wearing a helmet. More research is needed on risk-taking behaviours. . .
. . Using helmets unfortunately was not a panacea for decreasing the number of head injuries but likely reduced the gravity. Further research is needed on head injury to understand why those that are wearing helmets are suffering more head injuries than those that are not protected by a helmet. Risk compensation was one possible explanation. . .

So similar findings, but a somewhat different set of conclusions.

Before this thread started, my naive expectation was that overall there would be a downward trend of head injury over time as a result of much increased helmet use. What is notable is that the graphs of injuries NZ 2010-2014 when helmet use doubled 42–83% showed no downward trend! It was flat or rising! Hence their concern. Sadly, I fear once again the diverse behaviour of a very varied population of self-styled homo sapiens on planks/boards doesn't seem to work in quite the way one would like to think with respect to safety.

Looking at the paradoxical and contradictory results on Alpine and NZ TBI and injury generally vs. helmet use, my wild guess is that some subset of people that wear helmets are partaking of disproportionately more activities that are more risky for serious head injuries, pushing up the stats for concussion and more severe traumatic brain injury, whilst on average the entire population of Alpine helmet wearers are more risk averse than the Darwin award minority, so overall the injury rate for helmet wearers globally is paradoxically lower.

Perhaps risk compensation may be a factor in certain types of people . . but is there something else as well?

Maybe I'm just being an old fart here (again), but looking at telly coverage, youtube and the growth of snowparks over the years, I can't help feeling something else is going on. It seems to me that there is a media-fuelled attraction to participate in increasingly dangerous activities of all kinds, and snowsports are telegenic. Purely subjectively it looks to me like participation in dangerous snowsport activity has been on the up for an increasingly significant fraction of people on snow over the recent past, and is set to increase even more until it's eliminated from the gene pool/we're finished by global warming.

Tentative prediction: people will remain people, helmets will get better, serious head injury rates will continue to rise.

(Edited 30.08.18 for better accuracy re usage of 'TBI' vs. 'concussion')


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Thu 30-08-18 16:54; edited 2 times in total
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Pruman wrote:
@Handy Turnip, it does indeed happen both ways but, with almost saturation helmet usage, it normally starts with "don't you think you should wear a helmet?" and, at that point, I generally feel like beating someone around the head, in a sort of ironically violent act.


Yes fair point - I guess on the slopes and bars you will generally see more of the “why don’t you wear a helmet?” type comment. I was more referring to on here where it feels like there’s more of a vocal anti-helmet brigade than a vocal pro-helmet brigade. Possibly because they are fed up of being asked the same old question on the slopes!
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Just a personal observation here.

I learned to ski before there's even a concept of ski helmets. So for decades, I skied without one. Part of what I loved about skiing is that "wind in my hair" exhilaration (even though I was wearing a hat most days). To be exact, the coldness of wind cutting through my hat to give me a headache was my "speed limit".

After gotten a helmet, my head is no longer cold. So I could ski FASTER comfortably!

It's not so much a "risk compensation" that I ski faster with helmet. It's just my speed perception was changed by it, leading to higher speed.

And if I were to get the same excitement level, I would need to ski faster! (fortunately, that's not what I'm after these days).

Add the issue of helmet limiting my peripheral vision AND my hearing, I felt I had more close calls WITH helmet than the few times I ski WITHOUT.

As such, I'm not at all convinced overall helmet really provides any safety benefit to me personally. But I'm wearing it mostly because it's just more comfortable. Plus I may get people constantly asking why I'm not wearing one (so far none on the days I ski without, though those days had been extremely rare).
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Warmer
Keeps my head dry in the powder
Goggles don't fog
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If I'm involved in a high speed collision it will contain my head rather than having blood & bits spattered over the snow
Can carry my goggles and gloves in it
Lasts longer than a hat
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Even I am surprised by the non reduction in head injuries, esp concussion, reasons???
Increased popularity of parks? People taking greater risks?
Helmets providing no increased protection / possibly less protection when the head hits a surface of medium hardness?
It would be interesting to see deceleration data for a dummy head hitting softer surfaces with / without helmet.
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abc wrote:
Just a personal observation here.

I learned to ski before there's even a concept of ski helmets. So for decades, I skied without one. Part of what I loved about skiing is that "wind in my hair" exhilaration (even though I was wearing a hat most days). To be exact, the coldness of wind cutting through my hat to give me a headache was my "speed limit".

After gotten a helmet, my head is no longer cold. So I could ski FASTER comfortably!

It's not so much a "risk compensation" that I ski faster with helmet. It's just my speed perception was changed by it, leading to higher speed.

And if I were to get the same excitement level, I would need to ski faster! (fortunately, that's not what I'm after these days).

Add the issue of helmet limiting my peripheral vision AND my hearing, I felt I had more close calls WITH helmet than the few times I ski WITHOUT.

As such, I'm not at all convinced overall helmet really provides any safety benefit to me personally. But I'm wearing it mostly because it's just more comfortable. Plus I may get people constantly asking why I'm not wearing one (so far none on the days I ski without, though those days had been extremely rare).


+1 for most of this but for me, I absolutely hated skiing with a helmet on and never wear a hat either, if its cold, I just use the hood of my jacket to keep the wind off.
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Mike Pow wrote:
Lasts longer than a hat

One of my hats must be 20 years old. And if I drop it from a height I just pick it up. Meanwhile, if you drop your helmet from a height, some say any height, you're left wondering whether to replace it or not.

The "it's warmer than a hat" argument always amazes me. There are guys climbing Everest or skinning around Antarctica just wearing a hat. People going to work in the Arctic on a Skidoo just wearing a hat. The key is to get the right hat, one with a windstopper liner perhaps.

What do the collective think about those who have stickers all over their lids, built-in headphones, or those bunny ears coverings, or GoPro mounts, or ill-fitting rental helmets that have been drop kicked many times etc etc? As we are talking about a scientific survey, isn't it appropriate to look at all that too?
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@Pruman, my thoughts of the state of the rental helmets being offered to my children were why we bought them their own! They also take good care of their helmets.
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Quote:
There are guys climbing Everest or skinning around Antarctica just wearing a hat.

They’re not sitting on chair lifts being wisked about at speed.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Not sure this study's inclusion criteria were sufficient to show where a helmet prevented an isolated traumatic brain injury.

Anecdotally I've had a few falls when just getting into black runs where I've lost control and went back onto my head and had a good dazing, I'm certain I would have had concussion had i not had a helmet.

The study seems very good for showing that they do little for the ski related polytrauma, but is that really a surprise?

The cases where I end up totally wrecked in a French hospital are hopefully few and far between, the times where I spend the rest of my week recovering from concussion from an isolated head injury or an afternoon waiting for someone to glue my head back together and probably much more common and on balance the reason why I think a helmet is worthwhile no matter what level you're at.
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I’m not a Helmet Nazi = INAHN.

Done a few simple back-of-the-envelope calcs.

20km/h is the speed of a straight drop under gravity from 1.5m height, the basic EN1077 criterion for helmets. (Edit 30.08.2018: The head helmet protection criterion here is only against TBI, here used as life threatening traumatic brain injury, which allows a much more severe bang to the brain than protection against concussion.)

If I'd been skiing along, and had fallen over like a doll striking my head down on a surface rather than hitting an obstacle, this would have been more or less the resulting component velocity perpendicular to the surface causing violent deceleration of my head perpendicular to the surface.

If that type of accident had occurred to me when on an unyielding surface, and in my fall my skull had taken an impact due to the momentum of my head, only the soft or breakable bits of my head plus a helmet, should I be wearing one, would have been providing the necessary deceleration zone during the impact to keep my brain safe. If I’d worn a helmet tested to EN1077B, it'd have done the deceleration pretty OK when working in conjunction with my head, and I'd have been at little or no risk of TBI. That’s why those helmets materials plus their liners are the thicknesses they are. I’ve measured mine, and it ties in well with the depth of deceleration zone needed to meet the EN.

If on the other hand I hadn't worn a helmet, and I'd fallen in a situation like that, I'd have put myself at some risk of TBI.

It’s my brain, my decision.

INAHN.

The 1.5m in EN1077 didn’t at first seem like a lot of height, but it's about average for centre of bonce I guess.

Noticed that NZ document gave a 2.0m height (a very tall person falling) instead of 1.5m as per EN, but a 300g deceleration instead of 250g EN. They don't say but it appears NZ refers to the US code. By my estimate, that code means being about 10% less demanding on deceleration distance in the design, meaning I guess in the US/NZ they can get away with thinner liners yet comply with what prima facie to a punter unfamiliar with Newton's laws would look like a tougher criterion. Not saying it's a worse standard here.

BTW, my estimate is that the EN deceleration figure means the Homo Europo standard head can be expected to take a peak force of about 1.5 tonnes in an impact without there being TBI. What a remarkable job evolution has done on the mechanical design of the human bonce. Hope my head meets the Homo Europo standard. Shame the contents don't work so well.

Snow:

@tangowaggon’s point: “Helmets providing no increased protection / possibly less protection when the head hits a surface of medium hardness? It would be interesting to see deceleration data for a dummy head hitting softer surfaces with / without helmet.” - good questions.

The back-of-the-envelope came to hand again. Grossly simplified calcs using dummy head that I'm wearing; making a guess on WSTC/how snow behaves in an impact - rough conclusions on snow softness:

= If the snow is as yielding to impact as the helmet construction, which isn’t soft by any stretch of the imagination, the drop height goes up to about 2.75m, equivalent to 25km/h bang as experienced by the head.
= If the snow is twice as yielding to impact as the helmet construction, the drop height goes up to about 4m, equivalent to 30km/h bang as experienced by the head.
And so on.
= If the snow is ten times as yielding to impact as the helmet construction, the drop height goes up to about 15m, equivalent to 60km/h bang as experienced by the head - I estimate that in that soft snow at that speed it equates to needing to make a depression of 100-150mm in the snow with your head during the impact.

It’s a statement of the bl**ding obvious isn't it; ignoring other types of injury, you can get away with jumping progressively higher if landing flat on progressively softer and deeper snow banging your head; or as an alternative, you can get away with slamming your whole body into progressively softer and deeper snow at progressively greater speed; without getting TBI.

Disclaimer: If when you're out and about you use these numbers be aware I take no responsibility for your actions. It would be nice if someone else confirmed or otherwise in case I'm horribly wrong. I did this so I could get a general idea myself and thought it might be interesting what others thought. I'm no helmet or brain expert!

My hypothesis from these unconfirmed numbers is: if I stay out of the snow parks, don’t jump and hit my head, don’t bang my head on rocks and bits of concrete and steel, and don't collide head on with anything hard with my head at speed, I’m going to be pretty safe from TBI out there wearing a standard EN helmet, as well as safe from some other risks to my head as well.

I guess if I was only worried about TBI, and wasn’t wearing a helmet, and only ever speeded/jumped on appropriately softer and deeper snow, and never had any collisions either, I’d probably not be increasing my risk of TBI over that of taking an impromptu apres-ski backwards fall outside the bar slamming my head onto the concrete pavement either. That's not me though.

INAHN.

So back to the new hobbyhorse.

If you are performing aerials or jumps in a snow park and you're wearing a standard EN1077B helmet, consider that if you drop from a head height greater than 1.5m such that, as opposed to hitting an obstacle, your body and skull impact a flattish near horizontal unyielding surface (and snowparks seem pretty hard packed, and have other hard flat horizontal/sloping surfaces as well), you are going beyond the test conditions of EN1077B helmets. It implies you put yourself at risk of TBI from a fairly routine fall for a snowpark, and if you want to do that sort of thing you ought to get yourself a better helmet or put up with the consequences.

But are people aware of the consequences? Because I don’t do that sort of thing I have no idea really. Maybe someone on here has a better picture of what people in snowparks are like. It seems to me likely that most non-pro holiday-type people doing jumps and aerials in snowparks would think that if they’ve got a standard helmet on, they’re adequately protected. I now don't think they are. I was by no means aware of any limitations myself until @thecramps started this thread running, and got me thinking about it.

All of the above would seem to hint at possible causes of the brain trauma stats and concerns voiced in the abstracts of the NZ study I referenced and I now suspect they’re really on the right track: (The increase in concussion rates raises concern that those wearing helmets are overestimating the protective capacity of the helmet and are taking greater risks with speed and/or jump-height than those not wearing a helmet. More research is needed on risk-taking behaviours. . .  ) My only difference with that would be to have said ' . . some of those . . ' so as not to inflame sensible people. (Edit 30.08.2018: And that the head helmet protection criterion in EN1077 and ASTM is only against TBI, as life threatening traumatic brain injury, which allows a much more severe bang to the brain than protection against concussion. Perhaps the NZ paper doesn't take into account the very much lower brain deceleration levels that cause concussion - well below what the helmet standards are designed to provide. They can't be expected to provide concussion protection against the normalised 1.5m fall, for example.)

So far as snowparks are concerned, it’s all a bit worrying. In which particular case I've surprised myself in this post and now think the Helmet Nazis aren't concentrating on those they ought, if any, and if their advice is just 'wear a helmet' even that may be inadequate in those cases too.

PS. bit of a rush, haven't read the other helmet threads at all, so aware I'm probably repeating stuff that's been posted before: apols in advance.

(Edited 30.08.18 for better accuracy re usage of 'TBI' vs. 'concussion'. The helmet protection in EN1077 is against TBI, here used as life threatening traumatic brain injury, which allows a much more severe bang to the brain than protection against concussion, which occurs at far lower energy impacts.)


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Fri 31-08-18 23:54; edited 9 times in total
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Although it's useful to consider the impact of speed, I think it's too simplistic to assume that the speed of travel = speed that the head impacts an object if you crash. There are 2 scenarios where this will be equal: A direct, head-on impact with a stationary object and no attempts to slow down beforehand, or a complete pivot around an edge, where the edge comes to a complete stop, and the forward motion is converted into rotational motion and your head hits the ground at the speed at which it was originally travelling.
I think both scenarios are pretty rare; I've done something like the second by catching the wrong edge on a board at low speed, but at greater speed the edge wouldn't stop immediately, and most of the momentum would still be parallel to the slope.
And to add a further complexity, it's rare that the head would make the initial contact with the object; normally part of the body will impact first, then the head, and some energy would be absorbed by the body's impact. The exception would be landing directly on your head, which is possible from aerials or jumps, but much less likely if you're generally trying to keep your skis/board in contact with the snow
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robboj wrote:
If just one person a season is less injured than they would have been without a helmet that is the only stat we need.


Disagree. This table suggests there are 50 million skiers in Europe. If they each buy a helmet then that is £5 bn. It's not worth (collectively) spending £5bn to save a head scratch - or even a life.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/660546/europe-number-of-people-skiing-by-country/
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@James the Last, 50 million, in other words 1:8, feels too high but otherwise I agree with you and we can never eradicate Darwin Award winners. In my opinion it is all about fear, fashion and money. Recreational skiing is statistically a very safe sport, famously said to be safer than table tennis when you look at number of injuries per participant hour (or whatever the metric is), and from what I read, the incident rate of serious head injuries hasn't moved over the years despite the near-saturation usage of helmets. In pushing helmets so hard, the industry has made their safe sport look dangerous and that alone will be enough to put certain people off taking it up. Bigging up the danger and then selling the solution, making a bizarre example out of Mr Schumacher, is an easy way to make lots of dosh. I have yet to see a helmet manufacturer or retailer try and educate people about safety generally. They sell helmets as if they are the safety, when they are only a form of protection for when safety has left the building.
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@Pruman, you can build great business selling safety EQUIPMENTS. But it's hard to charge for instilling common sense.

It's the same when it comes to driving also. Air bag, anti-lock brake, traction control, people simply drive faster and follow closer knowing they can stop at shorter distance!
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@abc,
“Add the issue of helmet limiting my peripheral vision AND my hearing, I felt I had more close calls WITH helmet than the few times I ski WITHOUT.”

Some very amateur experiments I conducted while sitting at my office desk seemed to prove (to my satisfaction) that helmets do not limit peripheral vision (well mine didn’t, some may do), but goggles of all sorts definitely DO limit peripheral vision. Hard to form an opinion about hearing limitations. If you unclip the ear pieces, then no impact at all. If you leave them on, then there must be some effect but it’s very, very slight. In some circumstances a helmet might even help hearing in the same way that one of those woolly condoms helps broadcast mics in windy conditions.
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viv wrote:
Although it's useful to consider the impact of speed, I think it's too simplistic to assume that the speed of travel = speed that the head impacts an object if you crash. There are 2 scenarios where this will be equal: A direct, head-on impact with a stationary object and no attempts to slow down beforehand, or a complete pivot around an edge, where the edge comes to a complete stop, and the forward motion is converted into rotational motion and your head hits the ground at the speed at which it was originally travelling.
I think both scenarios are pretty rare; I've done something like the second by catching the wrong edge on a board at low speed, but at greater speed the edge wouldn't stop immediately, and most of the momentum would still be parallel to the slope.
And to add a further complexity, it's rare that the head would make the initial contact with the object; normally part of the body will impact first, then the head, and some energy would be absorbed by the body's impact. The exception would be landing directly on your head, which is possible from aerials or jumps, but much less likely if you're generally trying to keep your skis/board in contact with the snow


I would have thought that the most common scenario (for me anyway) is a fall at speed where the impact speed is probably not much more than that of falling while stationary. I.e. body and head are sliding freely along the slope. Even if the horizontal speed is high a helmet may well help to protect from the vertical component and the odd bump as your head rattles over icy corduroy.
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Quote:
@foxtrotzulu
I would have thought that the most common scenario (for me anyway) is a fall at speed where the impact speed is probably not much more than that of falling while stationary. I.e. body and head are sliding freely along the slope. Even if the horizontal speed is high a helmet may well help to protect from the vertical component and the odd bump as your head rattles over icy corduroy.


+1.

Well. Component velocity. What I was trying to get across in my previous post, but I obviously failed to make clear, is that because of this effect decribed by @foxtrotzulu, it is precisely what the 'anvil' test using a straight drop from 1.5m for the standard EN1077 helmet is intended to simulate, and worst-case, it assumes a very hard surface as well. i.e. it simulates what typically happens to your head+helmet in a fall, by only evaluating a fall like a plank from a stationary vertical position onto a very hard unyielding surface like ice. The straight impact test is based on this one simulation (just one of the tests in fact - there are others which test other things) as being representative of the bang a skier's head gets in a typical fall for helmet test purposes. The surface is made of steel in the case of the helmet test, which is pretty unyielding. Good choice.

The assumption was, I guess, wrongly or rightly, that this indeed is representative of the energy impact of the most common skiing scenario, and pretty representative for typical punter falling behaviour.

Helmet design isn't based on the 'simplistic assumption' that what forward speeds skiers typically do is what matters as an impact test velocity in helmet design. After all, 20km/h isn't very quick for most of us on here, is it? What matters, obviously, is the bang as experienced by the head, which is indeed typically a lot less than forward speed, and having an appropriate test that simulates that bang. Possibly people have been misled by the helmet test figure being commonly quoted in 'km/h' because of the way the test parameters work, and erroneously thought, that's the limit of 'my speed skiing' that they use in a helmet test.

(Edit 30.08.2018: The head helmet protection criterion in the standards is only against TBI, here used as life threatening traumatic brain injury, which allows a much more severe bang to the brain than protection against concussion etc. That is what 'protection' implies in this context. Whether the helmets will work e.g. to prevent concussion etc. which requires much lower levels of deceleration, implying needing more liner thickness, is not required by the standards and not tested.)

It is noticeable that FIS race helmets are designed to a greater head impact, but this is not surprising, because downhill folks are not just travelling at speed, they are also jumping.

That means they can expect to be routinely falling from a greater effective height than someone just skiing along, and therefore they can routinely expect a harder bang onto the surface.

The FIS helmet design only raises the test drop height to 2.5m drop height, equating to an effective bang on the head of 25km/h by my calculations.

If you get my point, using the same reasoning as above, it is then quite consistent that they should have chosen once again a helmet impact velocity which is a hell of a lot less than the forward speed the FIS skiers are expected to be going at when/if they fall, e.g. in a race.

What all this also means, is that the scenario for the punter's standard EN1077 helmet is designed makes it effectively cover most cases of falling in forward travel on the surface, but will not reliably work against e.g. banging head in a drop from a position elevated above hard snow (>1.5m, i.e. jumping); as opposed to a fall, a collision with something hard at any great speed; an unusual fall. A corresponding restriction would apply on what an FIS helmet would reliably protect against.

Imagine if you were to ski at 20km/h into a vertical steel post somehow managing to hit it with your body and the helmet simultaneously, the impact would be the same as the standard helmet test so far as your brain is concerned. I'm not for a minute suggesting this is a credible or normal accident, it's merely a mind experiment to give an idea where the limits for reliable protection against a bang on the head lie, which the brain protection can be expected to work at, and so giving an idea of when you'd be beyond it.

Isn't it obvious that if the bang your braincase takes is any harder than that, it's beyond what the standard punter's helmet is tested to reliably protect against TBI for? Of course it's a statistical thing, so reliance isn't 100%. The helmet can't be relied on to protect all skiers agaiinst TBI in all accidents completely even at a mere 1.5m drop, but will pretty well do so in the overwhelming majority of cases, and it won't fail to do so in 100% of cases at 1.501m either.

And that therefore if you're a standard punter in a helmet, you're at elevated risk of TBI if, however you manage to do it, you e.g. don't have a 'normal' fall so far as the standards are concerned (or equivalent impact), but impact your head harder than that, either by jumping, going really fast and hitting something hard, or managing to fall on your head onto a hard enough surface with the weight of your body behind it, or whatever, it really doesn't matter how you exceed the test criteria? But how many people would know or bother to find out what the standard is based on when getting helmets? I didn't when I've bought mine, I took it all on trust, and that was first some 12 years ago.

I've just this minute for the first time read the 'Instruction Manual' for my Marker helmet. It says (in extremely small print) "Wearing this helmet does not make you invincible. Serious injury or death may occur while wearing this helmet." Too darn right. And I've just checked the helmet itself too, and it only states the EN number. It doesn't show information to give an everyday person a direct idea of what the limitations really are on the spot.

What I think would help would be wider awareness of the (to my mind, surprisingly low) limitation of the protection provided by the typical helmet. Was unaware of how low it is myself before this thread started and a bit ashamed about that. What I imagine is needed is a better way of marking, like symbols, to somehow obviously indicate to non-technical and possibly more illiterate people the limit of what it's reasonable to expect the helmet to do reliably for you. Printing the impact test speed would be misleading to the public. Might getting the drop height across pictorially be a good idea? (Edit: and a death's head maybe. The protection here is against TBI, as life threatening traumatic brain injury, which allows a much more severe bang to the brain than protection against concussion.) I've no ideas beyond that at the moment.

==
BTW, the above also means that if you hit something soft and going slower than you or softer than the steel post and not moving, you can reasonably expect to get away with a higher direct forward speed bang to the head than 20km/h without TBI. Bit mischievous to suggest this @dp, but it also implies that if there's e.g. another punter who's stationary and wearing the same standard of helmet as you with the same size head, and you run into said punter, colliding head-to-head, you'll both probably get away without TBI if you'd been doing 40km/h! And that's encouragingly not all that slow! Perhaps some SH's (not me) could try this out at the PSB and see if it works?
==

Hope this helps.

(Edited 30.08.18 for better accuracy re usage of 'TBI' and 'concussion' protection.)


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Fri 31-08-18 23:56; edited 9 times in total
snow conditions
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Fat George, good discussion. I would just add one thing to your thoughts, which is the detail of the mechanisms of brain injury. You are right that simple physics determines that helmets will protect up to certain energy levels, and then not protect, which is the most likely reason that the research is showing no reduction in concussions. It is right that some people have noted that injuries which might have resulted in non-reportable injury have now reduced. My hunch (since there's no method for checking this accurately) is that helmets have reduced these kinds of injuries (such as when my small one managed to fall onto rocks in 2012, catching a snowboard edge - helmet (POC Fornix MIPS) was battered, he was not; without it he would have had lacerations or worse). But above the low energy levels at which the helmet protects, indeed concussion injury is likely to occur. Final thing, on mechanisms. I've posted before about rotational brain injury, which is mentioned in the original article, and about which there was little discussion in 1990 but now it is recognised as a major mechanism - hence MIPS. Simple impact physics does not account for the shear forces which can be involved in real impacts, and that's where research increasingly is being focussed - which includes examining not only the internal structure of helmets but also the nature of the outside - hence the shiny, slippy and round shape of MC helmets - which prevents the 'grabbing' which can cause rotational brain injury.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@valais2: Agreed & +1!
I think helmet-mounted cameras are likely to contribute that way to the statistics too by negating the benefit of a clean helmet profile..
(Also by encouraging going for 'big air', and other forms of showing off.)
I thought twice before going for one at all, and settled on a small side-mounted torpedo type on the basis it's least likely to cause trouble mounted over my shoulder.
Might be wrong about that.
I don't wear the camera much now.
ski holidays
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Fat George, we steer clear of helmet mounts on snow - our MTB helmets (Bell) have mounts for GoPro but they have a breakaway facility - we also favour the GoPro Session series, which is tiny.

‘Big Air’ is a huge problem I think, on snow or in mountain biking. The design of bikes has shifted to ‘downhill fast’ models like the Ragley Marley and Mmmmbop. XC is now seen as a niche racing category rather than the mainstream. Both snow and trail Youtube pushes the ‘fast riding and high jumping’ as a norm in all disciplines - which when we coach young people, we try not to buy into in an uncritical manner.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I really want to wear a helmet; I am a naturally cautious person. I believe in protective equipment. To date however I have yet to see any ski helmet where I have seen any convincing report that it would materially improve my survival in an accident. I only believe in using protective equipment where it is obviously providing an advantage.

Firstly, traditional helmets are tremendously fragile. I'd bet that a really good percentage of hired polystyrene helmets have had a fall (off a table, during apres ski) and have a crack. Absent an x-ray machine, who would know - perhaps somebody has a portable machine they could bring to a bash, it would be quite interesting. Even non-hired helmets will similarly be likely to have had an accident. I've certainly heard people say: "I'm not replacing my helmet for that knock; it was expensive."

Secondly, they are of minimal protection against rotational forces, which really appear to be the ones to cause a problem.

I have, however, re-read this sentence from the Telegraph report several times over the last week and looked into the properties of D3O which turns out to be (reversibly) sheer-thickening, apparently it also provides some protection against rotational forces.

"Soft and pliable rubbery materials like D3O harden rapidly on impact to absorb and disperse shock more quickly and effectively than traditional materials. Only a thin, light layer is needed, and they also bounce back to work time and time again."

Maybe there is now a point to a helmet and the time has come for the feeling of air rushing through my hair to finish.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@James the Last, I think that VPD and D30 non-Newtonian polymers are excellent as armour. We have full VPD DH armour, which is excellent. But it has, to my knowledge, not been tested in any capacity regarding reduction of rotational brain trauma, it is the ‘round MIPS’ (Bell) and the new POC system which are designed to reduce shear forces. But correct me if someone somewhere has worked on this aspect of D30.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@valais2 I think you are you are right, but Bumper Noshock suggest their helmets protect against that too. Problem is that kit-selling websites are just a load of old advertising baloney. #windinmyhair
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello @James the Last:

Thanks for pointing out the D3O features.

Hadn't really given that much thought.

The OP Telegraph article mentioned:
Scott Symbol 2 Plus; Atomic’s Revent+ Amid; Shred Bumper NoShock; Salomon EPS4d.

Only the Scott seems to use D3O and MIPS as such.

Here's some text blurb extracted from their manufacturers' advertising and retailers' sales text for easy ref. and your bedtime enjoyment:

==============
SHRED BUMPER NOSHOCK: - interesting set of standards they comply with.

"Shred RES, Rotational Energy management System is a patent pending 360-degree flotation technology which helps reduce rotational accelerations to the head during impact by mimicking the natural cushioning behavior of the fluid between the skull and the brain. It is the simplest, lightest, and thinnest solution to dissipate oblique forces from any direction. RES consists of multiple floating contact points between the helmet liner and the foam padding
SLYTECH NOSHOCK - Slytech NoShock technology is a a patent pending slow response EPP honeycomb cone structure integrated within the impact recovery EPP core of the helmet to dissipate linear forces to the head during impact
SHRED SHIELD - Shred Shield is our toughened ABS helmet shell for increased dent and impact resistance"

"CONSTRUCTION - Hard Shell. Core with integrated SLYTECH NOSHOCK honeycomb
SAFETY STANDARDS - EN1077B (Europe snow) /ASTMF2040 (USA snow) /EN1078 (Europe bike) /CPSC (USA bike) /ASTMF1492 (USA skateboard) /EN1385 (Europe watersports)
MATERIAL - SHRED SHIELD toughened ABS, impact recovery EPP, SLOW RESPONSE EPP
WEIGHT - 519g [S size]
Multiple patents pending"


ATOMIC REVENT+AMID: in the 'all mountain' section - EN1077B Hybrid Construction/AMID/Holo Core

". . . a totally new construction with AMID protection foam and EPS Holo Core, you get up to 40% higher protection than industry standards."

AMID: AMID stands for Atomic Multi-directional Impact Deflector and is Atomic’s own development. It’s a revolutionary dual-density foam system which is fixed to the helmet’s core and free to move in all directions. This means better protection against impacts from all directions – as the foam cushions energy right at impact, then continues to deflect energy away from the head through its movement. By absorbing energy through the whole impact, it provides a new level of protection, whether the impact is high speed or low speed, direct or angled.

Holo-Core: The unique ‘egg-carton’ construction creates an extended crumple zone for maximised shock absorption. It also comes with ventilation holes so it’s cooler and lighter. This means up to 30% higher impact protection than industry safety standards require.


There's a manufacturer's animation which shows what this looks like.

SCOTT 'SYMBOL 2 PLUS D'

(with D30 + MIPS: the 'Symbol 2 Plus' doesn't seem to have D30) EN1077B

"The SCOTT Progressive Impact Absorption construction combines viscoelastic foam with traditional EPS . . .
The helmet is engineered so that the viscoelastic foam is strategically placed in key areas.
As the viscoelastic foam pads are more resistant than EPS for low and mid speed impacts, the helmet still surpasses CE 1077 standard impacts after multiple low or mid speed impacts. Whereas traditional EPS helmets may lose absorption performance after multiple low and mid speed impacts in a way that they might not meet the standard impact requirement anymore.
Every helmet should be always replaced after a serious impact.

D3O® is a highly shock absorbing material with molecules flowing freely in open cells, but on impact, the molecules lock together to spread impact energy and reduce transmitted impact force to the brain. We used D3O® in strategically selected areas to:
+ Reduce the risk of concussion in low speed impacts
+ Reduce the risk of brain injuries in mid-speed impacts
+ Allow multiple low and mid speed impacts while comfortably surpassing the highest safety standards"


SALOMON EPS4d: - can't find much on this technology except an uninformative video on Salomon website. The liner is still EPS only, but has multiple tyre-tread-like mouldings, which means the shell can move somewhat in any direction relative to your head, much like a car tyre does on the road. This provide some oblique impact movement capability. Obvious if you drive a car really.

"Salomon’s top-notch EPS 4D foam layer has distinct sections so it disperses impact from any direction"

"The patented Salomon EPS4D liner construction provides superior shock absorption; up to 30% more than required by the industry standard ..."

"features Salomon’s EPS 4D technology which is a lightweight, revolutionary protection system that will absorb impact in any direction in a collision as well as providing superior shock absorption and reducing rotational forces to the head."

==============

Well. Looks like they've all gone for addressing the rotational issue, 3 without using MIPS as such but their own technologies.

Maybe D3O adds something worthwhile - Scott have added it to the usual crushable foam - which maybe the other three manufacturer's technologies address as well.

More to consider.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
PS: RE concussion: been much talk of this.

The head helmet protection criterion in the standards is only against TBI, here used as life threatening traumatic brain injury, which is a criterion allowing much higher bangs to the brain than protection against concussion etc. would. That is what 'protection' implies in the 'helmet' context today. Whether the helmets will work e.g. to prevent concussion etc. even at lower levels of impact is not required by the standards and not tested either.

It would be nice if 'concussion' had an agreed definition used internationally. There isn't one.

For collecting useful safety statistics internationally, it would be nice if diagnosis of concussion under any definition was reliable. It isn't.

It would be nice to have a standard helmet test used internationally to see if they protect against concussion; we don't.

It would be nice if we had a single set of objective criteria used internationally on what would give reasonable protection against different types of brain injury. We don't.

Some figures some people have used:

95g : Possible concussion
150g : Certain concussion
275g : Serious injury or death

And one that has definitely been used:
250g : EN1077 helmet test.

That means you might, on a simplistic basis, have expected an EN1077 helmet to protect against concussion if it was with a 0.6m drop onto concrete. But the helmet materials may not deform at the lower energy sufficiently to achieve this, as they are probably non-linear. (Perhaps why a second softer layer of a material that also 'recovers' is being incorporated into some helmets?)

NHS:

Concussion is a temporary injury to the brain caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head.
It usually only lasts up to few days or weeks, although it sometimes needs emergency treatment and some people can have longer-lasting problems.

Wiki:

No single definition of concussion, minor head injury, or mild traumatic brain injury is universally accepted.
In 2001, the expert Concussion in Sport Group of the first International Symposium on Concussion in Sport defined concussion as "a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces."
It was agreed that concussion typically involves temporary impairment of neurological function that heals by itself within time, and that neuroimaging normally shows no gross structural changes to the brain as the result of the condition.
The terms mild brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), mild head injury (MHI), and concussion may be used interchangeably; although the term "concussion" is still used in sports literature as interchangeable with "MHI" or "MTBI", the general clinical medical literature uses "MTBI" instead, since a 2003 CDC report outlined it as an important strategy.
In this article, "concussion" and "MTBI" are used interchangeably.
Second-impact syndrome, in which the brain swells dangerously after a minor blow, may occur in very rare cases.
The condition may develop in people who receive second blow days or weeks after an initial concussion before its symptoms have gone away.
No one is certain of the cause of this often fatal complication, but it is commonly thought that the swelling occurs because the brain's arterioles lose the ability to regulate their diameter, causing a loss of control over cerebral blood flow.
As the brain swells, intracranial pressure rapidly rises.
The brain can herniate, and the brain stem can fail within five minutes.
Except in boxing, all cases have occurred in athletes under age 20.
Due to the very small number of documented cases, the diagnosis is controversial, and doubt exists about its validity.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Fri 31-08-18 23:58; edited 3 times in total
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Anecdotal ‘evidence’.

Up ‘til 2006, I skied with a beanie and sunglasses. So did my mates.

Mar 2006, was with 2 mates in La Plagne at the back of a queue for a chairlift. A big twerp out of control skied into the side of the queue. Big twerp eventually not hurt. Domino effect on lift queue. Unfortunately, someone who hadn’t taken their poles out of the straps and was holding them horizontal behind them waved their arms around hard to try to keep balance. Stuck the ski pole into the side of a big bloke’s head. He had no helmet. He went down and the pole was still sticking out of the side of his head. Screaming from crowd, bloke on floor not making any noise. Then the blood. Very sombre on the chair up. Discussion in chalet.

Next morning first thing, I and one other of us bought helmets. The third of us didn’t. He was an army officer and unfazed – apparently. However he bought a helmet next year (he has a very sensible wife). And so:

* Helmet no. 1, bought Mar 2006, Cebe to EN1077:1996 (impact test same as 2007 std):, + Cebe goggles to work in conjunction. Goggles+helmet saved an eye when someone’s pole end went there really hard. Outer goggles lens smashed, inner lens intact, black eye and bruising from helmet brow. Well pleased with combo protection. New identical Cebe goggles. Later, severe impact to head on ice, helmet cracked and thrown away. No concussion. Well pleased with protection.

* Helmet no. 2, bought Jun 2007, Cebe, identical, to EN1077:1996 manufacture Jun 2006, retired Mar 2017 (I knew it was well time-expired according to manufacturer. Only felt uncomfortable after a young person admired the unusual ‘superhero’ styling.) Multiple impacts of all sorts, 10 years’ worth of luggage handlers, knocks around the lift chairs, other people carrying skis, drops onto the floor etc., no skiing head impacts at concussion levels but plenty of them: more below however. Same old goggles.

* Helmet no. 3, bought Mar 2017, Marker to EN1077:2007 (standard is current but under review), manufacture Jly 2014, +new goggles. A bit cheeky the shop selling me this when acc. to the manufacturer, it should be replaced in 3 yrs., meaning I'd get 2 months skiing out of it in theory. Unlike the Cebe where all the info is on the outside, the Marker helmet has all info on labels under the second (cloth) inner liner, so I was unaware of this until today! Fortunately I don't really care. Comfort, weight & ventilation better than previous helmet. It’s had the usual bangs you’d expect from luggage handlers, knocks around the lift chairs, other people carrying skis, drops onto the floor etc. Based on judgement and experience of helmet no. 2 as below I’m not worried about that in the slightest. Not a mark on it (except SH stickers obvs.). No accident incidents – yet. Think I’ll be happy with it until I judge a better one is needed.

It had been opined that helmets such as these three are tremendously fragile. That this could be true seemed remarkably out of kilter with my 40-odd working years of experience of industry, engineering + some science, so I thought I’d do a little bit of investigation. I was interested to see what I could find out about durability and hidden damage.

It had always seemed inadequate to me that the weakness of my 3 helmets from a user perspective, was that hidden damage to the crushable liner could occur, weakening the protection, and that if this was suspected, the user could not readily inspect for integrity to ensure the helmet was fit for continued use.

Helmet no. 2 was still doing duty as a glove holder by the front door.

This afternoon I took it apart. It was a bit difficult to get the EPS liner out because it was glued in. A bit of work with a palette knife and a good tug got it out of the shell. Photo shows inside of shell and outside of liner.



On very close inspection when disassembled, no damage is apparent to the 12-year-old/10-years'-use helmet shell, shell interior, straps, liner exterior, liner exterior or even interior. There were no cracks, marks (except SH stickers obvs. and a bit of minor abrasion) or depressions on the shell. There were no cracks, marks or depressions on the liner. The only marks on the liner now are those I made by bashing it and pressing sharp things into it to see if it had become brittle in an agricultural non-science-lab way. It hasn’t. I've bashed the shell with a hammer to see if it cracks easily and it hasn't. (Doesn’t mean yours won’t.) Obvs. without knowing what glue is right to use, it wouldn’t have been a good idea for me to try to glue the liner back and re-use the helmet. Not that I mightn't if I did know. It’s back on duty as a glove holder.

Not that a lot of glue was used, or that it was particularly strong. But why glue? Hard not to be sceptical of motive here. Was there no other way of securing it that would work?

Others may say this is all only anecdotal of course, but for me, one piece of evidence – and it is evidence - is a lot better than none, and for me it is pretty reassuring about helmet durability. (Also reassuring was a closer re-read of EN1077, despite the inadequacies I've found out about in a week or so.)

My conclusion is, that it is quite easy in the absence of proper information to simultaneously overestimate the impact level of helmet protection and underestimate the capacity of what a helmet can probably continue to do if kept under its nominal impact limits. (Edit due to fair comment below by @Layne.

So for me:
* it's understandable if some members of the general skiing public believe one or both of:
(a) helmet will protect them in falls and collisions, when actually the protection is pretty limited and easily exceeded;
(b) helmet won't protect after the bangs and suchlike it gets in normal use, when it actually will;
* it's not their fault: members of the general skiing public aren't getting good enough information at the right time and in ways that gets clear messages over to them so they can realise what they're getting and not getting..

Hope that's better.
)

I suspect there is a really big gap in attitude, knowledge and understanding between the skiing public and the helmet industry. My gap's less than it was, but now I find it was too large for my liking when this thread started.

And I think the EN standard should also mandate that the liner must be able to be removed from the shell by the user for inspection and if intact when properly reinserted by the user be suitable for continuation of use without detriment to performance. (Velcro?? Press fit? These seem to work on cars. I can't see this requirement being commercially unreasonable or technically unfeasible, and it would benefit the skiing public.) (Edit: OK, fair point by adi, not velcro.)


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 31-08-18 23:45; edited 4 times in total
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@Fat George, think they wouldn't do that as they (rightly) assume some people couldn't be trusted to put them back together properly or at all.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@adithorp: Know what you mean and fair point.
As an engineer I sympathise with the point of view on trusting people.
But the design isn't really now completely consistent with that principle as stated anyway, and there are ways and means.

The current standard for type B says that the parts in a prescribed area, which is mostly above eye line, must not be 'detachable'.
It doesn't say parts mustn't be 'removable'.
'Detach' to me implies using your hands but maybe I'm wrong.
IMO it could do with some more clarity anyway.

Also the standard says that for type B, parts below that area are 'optional' and may be 'detachable' and/or 'removable'.
What's the idea of using these two terms and why?
The ear flaps on my old helmet - a type B - are removable when you're out on the snow, and as they are only held on by press studs, are detachable.
(The ones on the new Marker helmet aren't.)

Being ignorant at the time, early on I took them off on a chairlift because it was hot.
I skied around like that for a week until my ears got cold, then put them back on.
Soon after I found out that this was a really bad idea as it stops the brain protection working in the temple and over-ear areas.
There was nothing obviously visible on the helmet to indicate this shouldn't be done, esp. on the flaps.
There was a label hidden folded up under the cloth comfort ring inside the helmet which read, in the usual tiny print: "Safety instruction: Never without ear pads. Helmet used without ear pads increases injury risk."
'Optional', eh?

But does it need to be impossible to remove the liner without damaging the helmet?
That seems over the top for me, and as I said, it is a considerable negative currently as it prevents a safety inspection which in practice must increase hazards of continued use.
People aren't going to throw them away after a knock, so there's the risk of continued use with hidden damage compromising the protection.
The ability to inspect would give the user - or a shop - the possibility of getting a direct view of any potentially permanently damaged areas and a rational basis for making a decision.
At the moment, short of professional NDT, who would know if there was any?

The usual requirement for most things - including safety related items - is that provided it needs a tool and deliberate action to do a removal or inspection, even a simple one, it's OK.
A car wheel for example, or access into an electrical accessory or appliance.

Would you feel any different about:
"The liner must not be detachable or removable without a tool, and must be able to be removed from the shell by the user for inspection, and if intact when properly reinserted by the user be suitable for continuation of use without detriment to performance."

A press fit would meet that requirement, so it would do for the liner in most Euro products.
And after all, for comparison anyone can fiddle with their bindings settings easily enough using the screwdrivers at the lift stations, which are safety related, and lots more.
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Fat George wrote:
My conclusion is, that it is quite easy in the absence of proper information to simultaneously overestimate the impact level of helmet protection and underestimate the capacity of what a helmet can probably continue to do if kept under its nominal impact limits.

As conclusions go that is clear as mud to me. Probably I've had too many knocks to the head.

Fat George wrote:
I suspect there is a really big gap in attitude, knowledge and understanding between the skiing public and the helmet industry.

I think your expectations of the skiing public are probably too high. Snowheads is not representative. A lot of skiers are just "punters" which sounds a bit of a derogatory term but is very true. Most wear a helmet simply because "well why wouldn't you". I suspect they give it very little thought and it's hard to say why should they. How much do they know about the skis and bindings they are hiring?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks @Fat George for the reading.

I somewhat feel that anybody with SH stickers on their helmet possibly doesn't worry that much about the effectiveness of the helmet.

And I'm not sure that visual inspection of the is fully effective. I'd love to see x-rays of helmets in use on the slopes. It obviously is slightly harder than I imagine to achieve this, otherwise ski shops would have mobile x-ray machines for free evaluation of your helmet (with a view to selling you a new helmet).

Significantly I think helmets are a matter of form over function...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
James the Last wrote:


I somewhat feel that anybody with SH stickers on their helmet possibly doesn't worry that much about the effectiveness of the helmet.

Significantly I think helmets are a matter of form over function...


1 Why on earth would you say that?

Why form over function? THe function is to provide a slab of something to absorb energy in a direct impact of some kind, the form sorta follows that. Now there are practical constraints on the form to make them wearable - ear, jaw protection and to be truly effective some kind of neck brace ike a Leatt might be useful. But then the uptake would be even lower.

Incidentally anyone know why freestylers don't wear neck braces - I assume it inhibits visionand won't stay put in inverts.
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Sorry y'all feel like that.

Trying to be neutral, accurate and clear and failed again.

As a gross exaggeration, how about:
Punters can think (i) helmet's better at protecting punter in accidents than it really is; (ii) helmet'll be useless if it gets a couple of knocks in normal use, which it won't. IMO it's 'cos they don't get the proper info, do they? Some punters can even think both those things at the same time!! (Edit: Warning! Not being serious here!)

Or worse:
Cr*p info. Punter thinks: "Helmets are cr*p, they work if you crash but a couple of bashes and you might as well chuck it in the bin. After a couple of hols they fall apart if you sneeze on them." Wrong tho'. Not 'is fault. (Edit: Warning! Not being serious here either!)

Trouble is those don't say what I mean and somebody's going to get insulted.

I haven't stated any expectation that the skiing public's understanding would be better than it is, or that it's poor is their fault. That's not what I think. My understanding was lousy too, as I've been honest about. My belief today is that the responsibility for the low level of public understanding lies in other quarters. I agree that expecting the skiing public to give this stuff a lot of thought is unreasonable. Technical stuff in what are supposed to be highly technical societies is taken on trust by the general masses, until something proves that trust is mistaken. I know helmets are so minor in comparison, but witness Grenfell, to take an example. In the case of helmets, I trusted too.

I'm all too well aware of the sorts of advice manufacturers give about solvents, transfers and paint on plastics. In the case of helmets, they need to give that advice anyway because the standard mandates that they must. They also do it as standard practice. Nearly all things these days have warnings about not modifying them, or affecting them with bad chemicals. Solvents on plastics are a historic problem. I knew that well already, so naturally I thought I'd have a look to see what had happened in actual practice, not worst-case theory. So when I disassembled the helmet, I removed a couple of SH stickers and bashed both those areas and the stickers left on very hard with a hammer, then removed all the stickers. No signs of damage. I also know the manufacturers advise that the deterioration from putting stuff on helmets may not be visible, which is true, but a hammer and a magnifying glass is pretty convincing to me that the SH stickers don't really matter, instead of worrying about words put in generally to protect against legal claims. And that's on a 12-year old helmet with 27 weeks ski use over 10 years. I don't have access to NDT, and I don't think it's either necessary or a good idea for the ski industry to put them in resorts. Even if you did, X-rays might be the wrong NDT idea anyway. There's an SH with expert NDT knowledge I've met. I'm not one. And yes, I do know manufacturers recommend you change the helmet every 3 years, and why they do that, and what reasons there can be for my not needing to take that literally under the right circumstances. Not to say that putting e.g. paint on the helmet or something else, which I won't be doing, wouldn't cause deterioration. I am not interested in skiing with a helmet that has deteriorated so much it makes it unacceptably risky for whatever reason, and I am reasonably sure SH stickers aren't that kind of risk. People can make their own decision on that one.

Re my not worrying about the effectiveness of helmets: I'd have thought the fact I've bothered about looking into it and putting it on here so others may read it is proof enough to the contrary.

Re 'form over function': the standards prescribe very closely which areas of the head are to be protected as well as a lot of other things that matter in terms of function. Having read the standard, I think it covers function pretty well although there are inadequacies, and it's under review. I'm sure it will improve. The standards for helmets for a wide variety of sporting and non-sporting activities cover function for those too. Naturally the manufacturers are free to compete to attract customers by styling and functional improvements, it's a market system, but this can't be to the detriment of function as defined in the standard, as it will cause the helmet to fail the standard. That's how standards and markets work. That doesn't say 'form over function' to me; what others think may differ.

Oh well.

No good deed goes unpunished.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Fri 31-08-18 23:23; edited 1 time in total
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Fat George wrote:
(i) helmet's better at protecting punter in accidents than it really is

Well, that is how this whole thread started... with an article about whether it prevents concussion. It's clear that there is some doubt that it protects against all accidents but for most that doesn't really matter. If it protects against some and better than having no protection the use is justified.

Fat George wrote:
(ii) helmet'll be useless if it gets a couple of knocks in normal use

Again I don't believe punters feel like that. Some, maybe many, are vaguely aware that "knocks" or stickers may be in some detrimental. But again it's still better than nothing.

Fat George wrote:
IMO it's 'cos they don't get the proper info

In my opinion it's because they don't care that much. I mate of mine once slipped in the bath/shower whilst out skiing and cracked his head open. After a bit of apres of course. Dangers lie all around. Best not overthink it too much.
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