Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Discussion about ways to make the sport safer and discussion of past injuries so we can learn how to avoid them in the future.
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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby master » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:30 am

rainbowgirl28 wrote:There is much discussion across many sports that use helmets about whether the wearing of a helmet increases risk-taking behavior by increasing the athlete's confidence and sense of security, especially among boys.

Who brings this argument up? Kids? Doctors? Psychologists? Do you know of any legitimate study that supports this?
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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby 73-vaulter » Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:18 am

I think case-in-point, might be you John. You turn into "Mighty Mouse" when you put on that helmet. :D

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby Divalent » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:07 am

rainbowgirl28 wrote:There is much discussion across many sports that use helmets about whether the wearing of a helmet increases risk-taking behavior by increasing the athlete's confidence and sense of security, especially among boys...
While I suspect this is true to an extent in a contact sport like football (where the evidence is pretty clear kids will sometimes use their helmeted head to deliberately hit another; something they would not have done if they didn't have an helmet), I'm having difficulty envisioning a scenario where a vaulter decides to vault under particular conditions (no mat? concrete wall nearby? underweight or cracked pole? etc) *OR* to use a more dangerous technique (deliberately go off on an angle? go over head first?) because they feel emboldened by wearing a helmet. I mean, it's not an activity you do anywhere (as opposed to, say, extreme biking or skateboarding) where a helmet might be considered a substitute to negate the danger of an obvious risk: you only do it at a facility designed for vaulting.

And if this sort of speculative argument has any weight, let me be the first to throw out the converse, which is backed by an equivalent amount of objective evidence: a requirement that they wear a helmet will provide them with the constant reminder that there are risks in this sport. If you have a helmet on your head to protect you against impact against a hard object, you (and your coach) might just be a bit more inclined to scan the area for possible hard objects you might meet (and move or cover them up).

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby Getvertical_PV » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:21 pm

The biggest thing to take from this event is that a safe vaulting environment (no lip on box in this case), and good coaching reduces the need for a helmet. Unfortunately neither the former or latter is consistently true.

I'm not a big fan for helmets, but this scenario is swaying my mind slightly....

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby Getvertical_PV » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:25 pm

While I suspect this is true to an extent in a contact sport like football (where the evidence is pretty clear kids will sometimes use their helmeted head to deliberately hit another; something they would not have done if they didn't have an helmet), I'm having difficulty envisioning a scenario where a vaulter decides to vault under particular conditions (no mat? concrete wall nearby? underweight or cracked pole? etc) *OR* to use a more dangerous technique (deliberately go off on an angle? go over head first?) because they feel emboldened by wearing a helmet. I mean, it's not an activity you do anywhere (as opposed to, say, extreme biking or skateboarding) where a helmet might be considered a substitute to negate the danger of an obvious risk: you only do it at a facility designed for vaulting.


As a USATF club coach I do not require athletes to wear helmets, but the majority of participants in my club are Wisconsin High School athletes were a helmet is required. I've seen the above to be true on several occasions, the most common scenarios are when I ask an athlete to move up to a pole they've never jumped on or move back a Left to a run they've never been on. This worries me as an athlete shouldn't take a jump with a helmet if they wouldn't take it without a helmet...

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby Divalent » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:22 pm

Getvertical_PV wrote:... I've seen the above to be true on several occasions, the most common scenarios are when I ask an athlete to move up to a pole they've never jumped on or move back a Left to a run they've never been on. This worries me as an athlete shouldn't take a jump with a helmet if they wouldn't take it without a helmet...
Could you clarify what it is that you "have seen to be true"? I'm having trouble understanding your point. You appear to be saying that kids with helmets are being reckless when they do what you asked them to do (move up a pole or back a left), which doesn't strike me as what you intended to say, unless you are a sadistic coach (not that there is anything wrong with that :D ).

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Re: Clark Miracle - 7th grade skull fracture 4-10-10

Unread postby TVAVaultCoach » Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:59 pm

I am usually not one to post, but on this subject, I think that I do have some pertinent information. I think that the comments by Divalent are spot on. He mentioned that we need data regarding injuries resulting from the use of helmets. Well my High School pole vaulters have been required to wear helmets for the past 10 years and we have had absolutely no injuries as a result of their use. And given that the average number of vaulters on my team has been 24 per season, I would say that is pretty good data set. In addition we have made mandatory the use of helmets for our club kids as well. And again, we have had nothing but positive results.

As for some of the other posts regarding this subject, I would offer the following points to consider. Becca, I believe that you mentioned that Kevin Dare would not have been saved by a Helmet, Sadly we will never know, but I can say that his dad is committed to the use of helmets in the Pole Vault, so much so he spearheaded the early design effort of Pole Vault specific helmets. That says a lot.

As for me. I have held still the bleeding head of a vaulter, in the box while waiting for the paramedics and it is an experience I never ever what to have again, so when I hear someone say Helmets are dumb I wonder if they would feel the same if they had a first responder experience as I. It is the result of that event that we wear Helmets.

As a youth coach, I am most concerned with pilot error, this is the kid, Like Clark, with less experience that lets go of the pole in an unsafe manner and lands on something hard, or the kid that lands on his feet takes a step back and falls back off the pit. These are in no way the only paths to injury, but they are quick paths to head impact and common mistakes of the inexperienced vaulter.

So there you have it, I will always endorse the use of helmets in the Pole Vault and hope others can lean from my experience, and never have to face what the Miracles are facing.


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