Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

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Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:01 pm

Discuss...

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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby VaultBrad » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:13 pm

Absolutely not.

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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby ashcraftpv » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:17 pm

nope, but why limit the question to only college vaulters?
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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby stavhoppare » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:17 pm

NO!!!!!
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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby VTechVaulter » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:33 pm

nope

obviously I prefer to wear one because I feel there is benefit to it. However, the first time someone gets hurt while wearing one, some jack@ss will sue and then the option will disappear for those of us who chose to wear one.

also if the NCAA were to mandate them, they would have to have some guidelines as to what require, and we all know how useful they are.
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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:34 pm

ashcraftpv wrote:nope, but why limit the question to only college vaulters?



Because the rumor is that it is being discussed at the college level...

Also college and high school are different. What may be more useful at one level, may be less useful at another.

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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:38 pm

I suspect this has come up because of the tragic death of the Grinnell pole vaulter this past year. And in his case, there is a decent chance a helmet would have helped!

But, that athlete had a number of factors not typical to the average college pole vaulter...

- He was a first year vaulter. Most college vaulters (save for some decathletes) have years of experience.
- He had a significantly lower PR than most college vaulters (11').
- He was vaulting at 10'6, which is lower than the starting height for men at _most_ collegiate track meets.

So part of the reason a helmet might have helped him is that he wasn't going very high. But the vast majority of college males are going MUCH higher, to the point that a helmet would be less likely to help them in a catastrophic injury.


Here are some numbers to think about (data from my research on athletic.net):

At all levels of collegiate vaulting (NCAA, NAIA, JC), there were approximately 2188 male pole vaulters. This includes decathletes.

In the NCAA (DI, DII, DIII) there were 1700 male vaulters. DI 773, DII 312, DIII 615

Number of male vaulters over the following heights (or better) by division (again, remember that this includes decathletes)

DI
18': 5
17': 60
16': 171
15': 352
14': 489
13': 605
12': 665
11': 711
10': 741
Total: 773

DII
18': 0
17': 2
16': 22
15': 62
14': 121
13': 188
12': 222
11': 251
10': 275
Total: 312

DIII
18': 1
17': 2
16': 16
15': 53
14': 145
13': 287
12': 392
11': 477
10': 532
Total: 615

Conclusion: Policy should not be necessarily be shaped to reflect an incident involving an athlete so far outside the norm for this level. I suggest that the energy would be better spent on coaching education and pushing for supplemental padding around the pit.



I have purposefully excluded female vaulters due to the fact that females in general are significantly less likely to have a head injury while pole vaulting, and I think in NCAA history there has only been one female vaulter injured (catastrophically).

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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby PVJunkie » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:19 pm

I am neither for or against mandating helmets. I have researched and thought long hard about the pros and cons. I was present as a coach at the Big 10 Championships where this topic has it roots. I have also consulted on this topic so I have thought more about it than most people. Long ago I put aside the emotional part of the debate.

A group of well respected individuals sit on the ASTM committee for pole vault safty. They established the increased size of landing systems and more recently developed ASTM#F2400-06 that set up a testing protocol for pole vault helmets. The fact this group spent the time to devlop this standard tells me it is an important topic.

Once the ASTM was published a lot of money went into having a helmet tested in accrodance with (by and idependent lab) the ASTM and it passeed. Establishing the first, and to date the only pole vault helmet that meets the standard.

Now, every sport and activity have safety concerns and new products become available on a regular basis. Why do we as vaulters treat this topic with such emotion instead of science and research. I have come to the conclusion that the lack of instances where a helmet might have helped is the reason. We all have days, weeks, months and years where we never see a need. Does this mean there is not one?

Lets look at similar activities and note that they do wear helmets - BMX racing, Extreme sports , Skateboarding, Water Skiing, Snow Boarding, Rock Climbing....just to name a few. Each of these activities could have the same arguement/s as the pole vault for or against helmets. Yet they wear them.

Now come the pros and cons
Pros
- protection from concussive impacts (huge topic in the NFL right now and we know what their helmets look like)
- reduction in impact forces against many common items (crossbar/standards/pole).
- reduciton in impact forces in roll outs/walk outs/bounce outs (hitting the pit and ending up on the ground)
- low cost in comparison to larger landing system requirements

Cons
- added cost (each vaulter must be fitted with their own helmet)
- increased deflection of the neck in normal safe landings(i am adding this BUT there is no reseach to support this claim as a concern and again if there was I feel strongly that it would have been a part of the many other sports listed above as well but they still wear helmets)
- increased feeling of invincability (again no research to support this but it always comes up).

PLEASE feel free to add to the Pros/Cons list but think hard about anything you add. Keep emotions out of this discussion since they will have no bearing on any legitimate discussion about safety.

NOW the big question. Should they be mandated? If so at what level? Why should they be required or not required?

AGAIN I am not biased in any way. I have vaulted for over 27 years and do not currently wear a helmet. My son is a high school vaulter and he does not wear one, BUT I see kids every year and think to myself "that kid should be wearing a helmet, thats an accident waiting to happen".

As Becca said, DISCUSS........

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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:39 pm

PVJunkie wrote:- increased deflection of the neck in normal safe landings(i am adding this BUT there is no reseach to support this claim as a concern and again if there was I feel strongly that it would have been a part of the many other sports listed above as well but they still wear helmets)



None of the sports you listed land on their back/neck when performed correctly.

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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby VaultPurple » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:41 pm

Are there any documented cases where the vaulted seriously had a head injury resulting in death? Almost everything I've ever heard of was due to neck inkurys from landing on head, and in that case a helmet wouldn't have helped. And I know u get occasional crossbar blink on the head but if were gonna use that then high jumpers should have helmets too.

I'm not totally against them but I just don't think there have been enough head inluries to warrent it. Should we make all baseball players wear chest protectors and face mask? Or gymnist and divers wear helmets incasee they hit a beam or board?

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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby VTechVaulter » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:44 pm

VaultPurple wrote:Are there any documented cases where the vaulted seriously had a head injury resulting in death? Almost everything I've ever heard of was due to neck inkurys from landing on head, and in that case a helmet wouldn't have helped. And I know u get occasional crossbar blink on the head but if were gonna use that then high jumpers should have helmets too.

I'm not totally against them but I just don't think there have been enough head inluries to warrent it. Should we make all baseball players wear chest protectors and face mask? Or gymnist and divers wear helmets incasee they hit a beam or board?


There have been many documented head traumas resulting in death. Most notably Kevin Dare at the Big 10 championships in 2002. Pr of 16'10 at the time i believe. Very talented young vaulter, got disoriented in the air, hit his head on the box. That year alone 2 other deaths occured in high schools, both from head trauma
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Re: Should college vaulters be required to wear helmets?

Unread postby PVJunkie » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:51 pm

rainbowgirl28 wrote:
PVJunkie wrote:- increased deflection of the neck in normal safe landings(i am adding this BUT there is no reseach to support this claim as a concern and again if there was I feel strongly that it would have been a part of the many other sports listed above as well but they still wear helmets)



None of the sports you listed land on their back/neck when performed correctly.



I agree BUT this argument lacks proof. It is to date an opinion and easily discredited. Although the number of vaulters wearing helmets is small there is no documented case of this and there has been no research to prove or disprove it. If this is the reason we are going to hang our hats on not to mandate, then someone needs to present a statistically significant case study.

Were larger pits necessary? The case was presented with the neccessary research and we now have larger pits. This too was met with a lot of resistance. In fact many schools still do not pole vault since the day that rule passed.

IF one of the governing bodies chose to seriously discuss this today.......my guess is that we would be wearing helmets real soon.


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