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Expanding on our previous post on concussions, Schutt has come out with a Safer Helmet. With more energy absorbing material and a better design. Just what we were stating last year. Football helmets need to be more like top of the line racing helmets.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/This-is-DeSean-Jackson-s-new-anti-concussion-hel?urn=nfl-282521


Race Day Beckons

I pedaled up E Henry St and onto N Finley, to the start line of the final bicycle race of the day. I lined up next to dead last of the 35 riders in the 20th running of the Olde Mill Inn Tour of Basking Ridge, category 5 race. Which was held on Monday, Labor Day, September 5th.

This was a 10 mile, 6 corner circuit race in downtown Basking Ridge. The category 5 class is for newer racers, weekend warriors and the more serious racers moving up to the category 4 ranks and beyond.

I had entered this race in 2009 and finished 19th of 36 riders, quiet mediocre at best and I haven’t raced since. So, my ambitions were to place mid-pack and maybe, possibly top 15. I approached this race with a very laid back attitude- which is something of a stretch for me. Though I did take my race week preparation fairly seriously as well as my pre-race warm-up.

Perspective

One thing I am unable to fully prepare for though, is the injuries my 46 year old body has to constantly deal with, which are a myriad of physical issues.

*Psoriatic arthritis – both hands and right knee
*Degenerative disc – L5/L6 (chronic)
*Pinched nerve – neck (chronic)
*Claudication – both lower legs/calf’s
*Peptic ulcer

I reference these issues not as excuses or complaints, but rather to put my athletic endeavours in some kind of context and perspective. Even though at times, I suffer from pain relating to these conditions, I still refuse to stop playing sports or competing- it’s my own choice. Luckily, I was taught by some key people in my life to tough it out. Always tough it out if possible.

Sure,  I take prescription (Metaxalone, Diclofenacum and Protonix) and many non-prescriptive med’s, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin- all like candy. But hey, everyone has something to deal with, so no big deal I suppose.

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All bets are down

The rain held off on this Labor Day, temps were in the mid 80’s but with a fair amount of humidity. By the days end, the crowds were thinning though still enthusiastic on the start line and all along Finley Ave. I glanced around for any locals I might know but I don’t see any recognizable faces (later, after the race I spot two guys I know and turns out my riding buddy Eddie was cheering me on)

“Gentlemen, have a good race” were the parting words from the Race Starter…and we were off! I stayed off the rear of the pack down the front stretch and into turn 1- not wanting to get caught up in anyone’s silly antics and then closed up a bit before turn 2. Between turn 2 and 3, I began to move up through the field.

On the backside of the course now through the esses, into turn 5, I continued my ascent in the standings. Just after crossing start/finish the guy I was in the back of starting grid with, Bruce Rice, called out to me- “let’s work together” I nodded and gave the ok. Trailing Bruce was a another rider who joined us and we pacelined for the next lap.

On lap 4 one more rider attached to our train and now we were 4 strong, each taking pulls at the front of our small group. I glanced over at the start/finish line to peek at the electronic lap counter to see 5 laps to go and I was feeling winded already.

I backed off my pace just a bit and drafted at any point I could, to save some energy for the last couple of laps.  Lap 7 on the back half, we dropped one rider from our group, while passing a bunch of others. We were moving up I thought, cool!

Now I began strategize a bit  in my head. How can I pick up some more spots and maybe drop one of these riders I’m battling it out with. I decided I was going to try and pick one off into the fast and sweeping turn 1. I was 3rd in our group down the front straight, then I hunkered down and  went hard and fast into T-1 up the inside of Bruce.

Driving furiously out of 1, I dive-bombed  turn 2 stuffing my carbon Pro-Lite up the inside of the rider ahead of me- the classic block-pass! Now the road rises slightly, so I had to put in the extra effort to carry my built up momentum. Just as I approached T-3, I caught two more riders, local Califon rider Tyson Witte and an another unknown. The pace was picking up and by the exit of  turn 3, Tyson and I dropped the third guy in our wake. Then there were two… heading into the Bell Lap!

Crunch Time

Back across start/finish I can hear the lead out vehicle approaching- which means the lead pack is not far away. As I set up for turn 1, I can see out of the corner of my eye the fast, full time racers coming through. I moved to the inside to make sure my momentum wasn’t balked by the front-runners, get low, turn my right shoulder, counter-steer and lean her in. I continued my ‘push’ into turn 2, then eased right to allow the few faster riders to come by.

I counted 6 guys who lapped the field- not too bad I thought- only 6 of 35 on the last lap. Okay focus, back to the battle with Witte. I stayed right on his rear wheel all through turns 3, 4 and 5. My plan was to jump him into the last turn, but he had gapped me a bit before 6, so I had to adjust my strategy on the fly.

I closed up on Witte out of T-6 because I knew how to keep the pedals turning through all of these corners, something not many riders can or don’t want to do. Tip it in, leaning over and pedaling as hard as I can out 6 onto Finley, I was right on his back wheel. He seemed to be tiring just a bit, so I  jumped out of the saddle for more speed, to try and go by him- (I yelled to myself- Andiamo!) Just as I started to pull even, Tyson stood up on his pedals, kicked hard and pulled away from me in the last 50 or so yards…my gasping lungs and burning legs could just not respond.

I glanced out of the corner of my left eye to make sure no one else was threatening my wheel before the line, I was safely ahead of the next rider coming through. Across the stripe I sat up, short of breath and feeling the burn of lactic acid in my legs. External thought returned to my head and I realized I had survived the 10 miles of corsa veloce. I tried to work out where I placed, but couldn’t pin it down really, I figured maybe it was a mid-pack result.

It’s all over but the shouting…

Back at start/finish, the race director called out the top 10 finishers- when he called my number, “#135” it was for 8th place. I was elated, really happy in fact. I clenched a celebratory fist in front of my body with genuine pleasure- 8th, yea!

Now 8th place in a Cat 5 race doesn’t mean sh*t to a lot of folks, especially
the racers themselves. But for me it was a real solid result and accomplishment. Consider the fact that I usually race only once a year, I haven’t raced since 2009 and I don’t “train” either. Couple that with the physical issues I contend with and you might see why I was really pleased…molto soddisfatto!

I haven’t been that excited about a top 10 placing since my amateur roadracing season finish of 7th place in lightweight supersport at Daytona in 1992, a 5th in LW superbike at the now defunct Bridgehampton in 1993. And then my 5th place in the National 125 Grand Prix Series at Road Atlanta in 1994. All of which are great memories for me.

“…so hard for me to shine- been so long…”

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4 wheels move the body…2 wheels move the soul


Head injuries and concussions are the hot topic right now in the NFL and around the sporting world. Rightfully so as well. The incidences and the injuries are significantly increasing. There is no one best solution to this real problem, but limiting the hitting and tackling to a specific ‘zone’ within the body are NOT an answer in our opinion.

The game of football is violent by its very nature, it is part of the sport. It is what separates these incredible athletes from the weekend warriors and armchair qb’s. Permanant head injuries and paralysis are some of the most very unfortunate parts of the game.

Redefining the game is truly not the best solution to curbing head injuries, but rather redefining the protective gear is. With mounting pressure from the media, some fans, sponsors, some players and health care professionals, Commissioner Roger Goodell is bound to make changes. Let’s hope they are not in haste.

Head trauma and head injuries are some of the most under diagnosed and mis-understood afflictions in sports. As more and more data and information comes to light regarding athletes and concussions, the closer sports and medical professionals come to finding a workable solution and possibly better prevention methods.

Last month, former football player Chris Nowinski testified before the House Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), called for a hearing aimed at placing focus on the issue. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in his testimony, “We know that concussions are a serious matter and that they require special attention and treatment.” According to the NFL, about 175 concussions occur league wide each season.

More recently the NFL has suspended its in-house study of the long-term effects of concussions in retired players. In the face of heated criticism from outside medical experts, the players union and members of Congress (although Congress involvement is the last thing any sporting entity needs) because of suspect data and conflict of interest.

Gee, you think? The fact is, that the NFL has known for quite some time that concussive injuries are more dangerous with severe long-term aftereffects. So why is it only now, after numerous high-profile concussion injuries in 2009, to both NFL and NCAA stars has the NFL truly addressed this very serious issue. Like almost anything in life…it comes down to dollars.

“Protect the shield” as infamously echoed by the commissioner. Protect it indeed, at almost any cost, until it becomes so glaring and such a problem that action is needed to address the problem. The days of sweeping serious issues under the carpet are gone. In this world of media now, virtually no one or nothing can hide from the stream of real-time information.

Players are now supposedly encouraged to come forth and report and/or disclose any signs or symptoms that may be associated with a concussion. That may be true, but actually getting some of the tougher, hard-nosed players to admit a weakness may prove to be a stumbling block in itself.

Medically, the treatment of concussions are passive and depend mainly on allowing the brain to heal itself utilizing rest and a strict avoidance of activities that may induce a re-injury. It is completely unsafe and irresponsible to return to play while symptomatic in any way following a concussion. Return to play should follow a stringent medically advised step by step process. The prescribed progression will typically vary depending on the duration of post-concussion symptoms.

The Data

National Football League player concussions occur at an impact velocity of 9.3 +/- 1.9 m/s (20.8 +/- 4.2 mph) oblique on the facemask, side, and back of the helmet. There is a dire need for new testing procedures to evaluate helmet performance for violent impacts causing concussion.

Pendulum impacts were used to simulate 7.4 and 9.3 m/s impacts causing concussion in NFL players. An instrumented Hybrid III head was helmeted and supported on the neck, which was fixed to a sliding table for frontal and lateral impacts. Second, a linear pneumatic impactor was used to evaluate helmets at 9.3 m/s and an elite impact condition at 11.2 m/s.

The severity of the head responses was measured by a severity index, translational and rotational acceleration, and other biomechanical responses. High-speed videos of the helmet kinematics were also recorded. The tests were evaluated for their similarity to conditions causing NFL concussions.

It has been noted that football players from age 30 and up to 50 were 19 times more likely to be diagnosed with a memory disorder or dementia than the national average. Players over 50 were diagnosed with dementia-related illness at a rate of 5 times the national average.

A new linear impactor was developed for use by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). The concluding results from the pendulum test closely simulated the conditions causing concussion in NFL players. Newer helmet designs and padding reduced the risk of concussion in 7.4 and 9.3 m/s impacts oblique on the facemask and lateral on the helmet shell.

The linear impactor provided a broader speed range for helmet testing and more interactions with safety equipment. NOCSAE has prepared a draft supplemental standard for the 7.4 and 9.3 m/s impacts using a newly designed pneumatic impactor. No helmet designs currently address the elite impact condition at 11.2 m/s, as padding bottoms out and head responses dramatically increase. The new proposed NOCSAE standard to improve football helmet shell and padding design is the first to address helmet performance in reducing concussion risks in football.

The fact is, that football has to invest in better designed and more protective helmets. Cost should NOT be an issue. With teams and the league itself worth billions of dollars, the cost of protective equipment should NEVER be a question or consideration.

Similar carbon fiber/kevlar and energy apsorbing technology and knowledge that is utilized for F1, MotoGP and other motorsport helmets with some version of a Hans type device needs to be incorporated into football helmet design and manufacturing in order to minimize the high rate of brain injuries suffered by football players worldwide.

data sourced from the NFL, Ovid, PubMed and NCAA.


Brian Surtees on his TZ250


 2010 Winter Olympic Games | United States Medal Count

  • Gold:             9
  • Silver:          15
  • Bronze:       13 
  • Total:         37

 2006 Winter Olympic Games | United States Medal Count

  • Gold:            9
  • Silver:          9
  • Bronze:        7 
  • Total:         25

 2002 Winter Olympic Games | United States Medal Count

  • Gold:           10
  • Silver:         13
  • Bronze:       11
  • Total:         34

 

2010 was a record haul for overall medals in United States Olympic games history. Out of 24 countries competing, for a total of 258 medals won, the U.S. claimed approximately 14.4% of all Olympic medals handed out in 2010. The U.S., representing 4.125% of the competition, won 14.4% of the medals.

The percentage increase from 2006 was approximately        32.44%

The percentage increase from 2002 was approximately        8.11%

 das vidania – 2014…

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