Head smacks and helmets

Dealing with aches and pains--and better yet, avoiding them--and fitness related to snowboarding. This is also the place to talk about helmets, safety pads, and goggles.

Head smacks and helmets

Postby welshscarry » Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:34 pm

Thank God for helmets.

I had a pretty horrible "backwards, heel-edge catching -head smack" at moderate speed this week.

(excuses?? afternoon flat light, hacked up snow, semi-skinny catwalk area , going at a fast speed to get up to next rise)

Seeing stars at the time, but able to ride down the hill. Today---a litell headach-ey, plus whiplash-pulled muscles- all in the front of the neck. That surely woke me up.

I shudder to think where I would be right now if I had not been wearing a helmet.
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Postby hookster » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:15 pm

I hope you're feeling 100% soon and I hope that if anyone here isn't wearing one they start soon.

Take care :)
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Postby SteveH » Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:09 pm

Ouch! Makes my neck hurt just to read about it. Or maybe I'm still sore from washing out my heelside turn and bouncing my helmet off the snow a few days ago.

I agree totally that there is a huge benefit and no real downside to protective gear. In addition to my helmet, I wear impact shorts, knee pads and wrist guards. I forget that I'm wearing them until I need them, then I'm just as grateful as you.

For "morning after" remedies I keep my massage therapist and chiropractor numbers handy.

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Postby welshscarry » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:03 pm

I was talking to one of our ER docs this weekend.
(my workplace). BTW he also used to race boardercross--how cool is that---- and is also an accomplished backcountry rider.

I told him about my whiplash backwards head smack.
"Hmmm, he says. I bet the front of your neck is killing you!"

Yes, sir, thank you very much! Just muscle sorenes, though.
Not bad enough to stop me from going riding this Wed. at Telluride!
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Postby bernwern » Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:55 am

Yeah, I rock my helmet as well.....mostly because of other people, but I do occasionally eat it.

I came flying down one of the steeper runs at Afton last weekend and didn't know there were big ruts from the ski races earlier...until I hit them. The wipe out had to look cool from the lift, because the marks we could see on the way back up were pretty sweet. I made it over 2-3 dips and the last one my nose caught, propelling me forward in a slow forward flip. I bounced off my head about 20 feet away and proceeded to tumble in the air afterwards for another 20 feet. I was fine, and I am not even sore, but I am still glad I had my helmet on :)

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Postby welshscarry » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:00 pm

Wow! Bern...

your story tops mine by a factor of about 10....

glad you had the helmet!! and glad you're okay.
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Postby bernwern » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:02 pm

It probably looked alot cooler than it sounds...wish I could see half of my biffs this season :)

But I completely agree on helmets. I don't eat it often on my own, but I wear it more in case somebody hits me. That happened last season, resulting in a mild concussion and a bad back sprain across 8 vertebrae.

And seriously, helmets today are light-weight, comfortable, and certainly look better than the old 80's style motorcycle bubble helmets (which i saw some dude wearing last Sunday, and it was gold-glitter color like a bowling ball). I recommend helmets to everyone, no matter their age.

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Postby volfan » Wed Dec 26, 2007 12:17 am

I caught an edge heelside and hit so hard that the back of my helmet cracked. I could hear it when it hit but didn't really feel it. I did have that whiplash sore neck but otherwise unharmed....got a new and better helmet out of the deal tho.... :)
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The flats require helmets too

Postby Rob » Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:12 am

Most of the stories in this thread are about high speed crashes, and there is no doubt that a helmet is vital.

But just a reminder to beginners from a third-year beginner: My most painful falls have all been at low speeds and on relatively shallow slopes. On a shallow slope the downhill edge is much closer to the snow than on a steep slope, and if you are not traveling very fast and are either tired or losing your balance, it's very easy to catch the downhill edge, and you can convert an enormous amount of potential energy into the impulse of impact by rotating over your downhill edge into a headplant. For me both of my worst falls have been caused by catching the heel edge and tumbling backward down hill. Once, before I bought impact shorts, I bruised my tail bone and it hurt a LOT for a full year. Now it only hurts if I sit in one position for a long time. The second time my helmet took the impact and my jaw snapped shut so hard I thought I'd cracked some teeth. But this actually generated the whiplash injury mentioned in many of the posts in this thread.

So as many others have said in one way or another, don't begin snowboarding without impact shorts and a helmet. I also wear volleyball kneepads. There is no shame in self protection! And you still want to be riding years from now, right?
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Postby bernwern » Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:14 pm

I am not as durable as I once was....I have found that out the hard way the last few seasons >< Albeit I am likely the youngest on the forums, I already feel the pains of age. So, in conjunctin with a helmt, I am hoping to buy the 661 Pressure Suit for next season to compliment my helmet.

Regardless of any other gear, I still firmly believe the helmet is the most important one you can buy and use, no matter if you are a beginner or a veteran. While beginners are more likely to catch an edge due to inexpirience and do to shallow slopes, they are also moving slower, which means less kinetic energy is converted when falling. Headplaning does suck, and I think all of us have been there....but the more dangerous edge to catch is your heel as most people end up with whiplash in conjunction to their potential head injury.

The only thing veterans and those of us moving faster on steeper slopes have as an advantage over the beginners, helmet or no helmet, is the expirience and ability to know how to fall and slide it out with less chance of injury.

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Postby canoer » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:15 pm

My neighbor is learning and on his last outing last Thursday (day 5 for him) he went to the bunny hill with his instructor for the warm-up run and took a hard heelside fall on the shallow slope. Barely moving.

I kept telling him how fast it happens, and now he knows why I insisted he get a helmet.

He's got a sore tail bone and neck (that whiplash thing) and a bit less confidence now.

I've been trying to get him to at least stick some ethafoam in his pants and he still hasn't gotten wrist guards either.
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