3 Reasons To See A Chiropractor After An Injury

Athletes and non-athletes can roll their ankle when walking, running, dancing etc.

As an athlete, the demands put on the body can lead to wear and tear and injuries do sometimes occur. Even more so when we get older. Since our bones and muscles age right along with us, our bodies are more prone to get tweaked and sustain an injury. Seeing a chiropractor for treatment not only can help prevent injuries by keeping the body moving properly and keeping it strong, but if an athlete sustains an injury, it can help with a more speedy recovery. How you may ask?

Well, as you may know many professional athletic teams have added chiropractors to the staff to consult on treatment options when a player is injured. Chiropractors not only treat the spine but any joint that moves. This means not only the spine but extremities too! The full body is assessed and treated.

Here are 3 examples of what chiropractors can do to help with injuries:
1.Faster Healing
A sport injury gone untreated or even just left alone can lead to chronic injuries if the cause is not treated. Chiropractic care improves movement and blood flow to your muscles and soft tissues by allowing them to receive more oxygen and necessary nutrients. Regular chiropractic adjustments also reduce swelling by taking stress off of the area and take pressure produced by inadequate movement of the joints which put strain on the soft tissues and nerve roots which leads to swelling.

2. Better Mobility
Chiropractic care allows for proper movement in the body. This is spinal and extra-spinal. We also perform soft tissue work as well as cold laser at our facility. Increased flexibility and less strain on the body leads to decreased injuries, increased athletic performance and better health.

3. Find issues before there is pain: As most of you know, you get a warning sign before pain will set in. Lack of movement, tightness, a “tweak”, pulling or some sort of dysfunction normally occurs before there is discomfort. If you take care of your body, it will reward you with feeling great and working great! Chiropractic allows the body to do what it is supposed to do, function at its highest capacity!

Remember, if you do get an injury, ice for 15-20 minutes every couple hours for the first 24 hours to take down the swelling. Then after the swelling is down, move! This doesn’t mean go out and run or put a large strain on it but get the joint to move, it will decrease how long it takes to rehabilitate the area.

Road Rage Symptoms And How It Can Be Prevented

We live in a fast paced environment,  road rage happens when driving to and from work or dealing with someone who is riding too close to you or driving too slow.  You hear about road rage on the news and from other people but what is road rage really and how can you prevent it?

Having road rage is not only having negative feelings but can also be aggressive driving and/or verbal or physical interactions.  I have seen road rage several times just sitting in my car at a traffic light.  I have seen people beeping at others because they want them to turn on red or beep at them because they are not driving fast enough.

So what is road rage?

The definition of road rage is “the manifestation of extreme aggressive behaviors by a driver of a car or other motor vehicle”. This terms started in the 80s when there was a bunch of shootings on the freeways injuring many drivers and created a scare for anyone driving a lone on the road.

What are the symptoms of road rage?

Giving rude gestures to another driver, excessive horn honking, flashing lights at other drivers and just plain aggressive driving.

In people with extreme symptoms of road rage it can mean they accelerate quickly, tailgate other drivers or preventing someone from merging in their lane.    This behavior can lead to aggression on both parties and lead to an accident or even escalate to an altercation which could lead to an assault.

How can we prevent road rage?

There is no way that you can be in control of other people’s emotions but you can control your own when on the road.  If there is a driver that is out of control and aggressive.  Do not engage with them.   If the other driver physically threatens you then contact the police.

If you feel like you are starting to exhibit road rage, try taking a deep breath and start counting to 10.  If you need to, pull to the side and take a few deep breaths for about 30 seconds and then resume driving.

Traffic Increasing in Redwood City, So Is The Bad Driving!

In a news article just published on August 24, 2015, bad driving is happening in Redwood City, and happening frequently.  In a time where startups and the population increasing in the area, people are in a rush.  Driving when in a rush causes people to take chances and speed, got through stop signs, and disobey traffic laws. One hot spot is Whipple and Veterans Boulevard where cars are going onto and coming off of highway 101.

KRON News employee Stanley Roberts went to Redwood City and witnessed broken laws and video taped several drivers receiving citations.  Some strange behaviors are recorded in his video showing several angry and disconnected reactions when being reprimanded by East Palo Alto police.

Bad turns, missing documents including drivers licenses, running through stop signs, backing up in the middle of an intersection and many other unsafe driving habits were recorded.   Bicycle riders are increasing in the area and it is key to follow driving laws so no one gets hurt.  Lets be careful out there and if your running late, please obey the laws to keep everyone safe.  Getting into an accident or receiving a ticket is time consuming so you will actually be later than if you just obey the traffic laws.

Here is the video in case you want to watch it.  KRON

How To Tell If Your Aging Parent Needs To Give Up Driving

Did you know that seniors age 80 and older have the highest rate of fatal crashes per mile driven than even teens? Often times, many people drive thinking they are competent drivers long after it is safe for them to do so.

As we get older, we have vision problems and our reactions are slower than they were when we were younger.  This increases our chances of getting into an accident.  Often times we are used to being faster and don’t realize we have a vision problem until it is too late.  Most state legislatures ignore the problem or at least don’t want to ruffle tail feathers.  In Virginia, the only requirement after age 80 is a vision test and licenses are renewed every 8 years.  There are only 19 states that require seniors to renew their licenses more often than younger drivers. Of those 19 states, half cut the renewal time to 4 to 6 years.  Illinois and New Mexico require annual renewal. Illinois is the only state to mandate that drivers retake the road test as they age.

Driving gives us all our independence and freedom.  Everyone wants to get around and not be reliant on others or sometimes public transportation isn’t desirable or easily obtainable.  Getting someone who has driven their whole life to give it up is hard.  It is hurtful to them.  If you have ever approached a a loved one, friend or colleague about giving up driving, I am sure you know what I am talking about.  State lawmakers are apprehensive about taking action because of unpopularity so most of the time it is left up to family members and loved ones to tell any individual deemed dangerous to give up driving.

So, what is the right way to approach this issue?  If you are suspicious that someone’s driving skills in your family are deteriorating, take a ride with them first to see what is going on.  This may sound dangerous but it is hard to determine what is going on if you don’t see it for yourself.

Take note if they are having problems signaling when changing lanes, not checking their blind-spots, braking at the last minute, not following traffic signals or signs, forgetting where they are going or anything else that seems odd to you.  If you notice problems with their driving…”address it head-on,” says Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research at AAA. “Most people wait until after a crash and it’s too late,” he says. Catching it early is key.

Obviously you want someone who is charismatic and non-combative to bring up the issue.  It is always a good idea to start with positive things about the person and lead your way into the subject.  If the senior has a health problem, then address it and explain why it may be better for them to stay away from behind the wheel.  Miriam Zucker, a geriatric care manager, suggests saying something like, “Dad, you’ve been a safe driver for 60 years, but with your cataracts, I know it’s harder for you to drive at night. If you got hurt or hurt someone else, that would be awful.” If your senior is just a bit slow with reaction times as far as breaking it may be best to drive during slow times and staying off the highways.

If you are going to suggest someone not drive a vehicle anymore, it is a good idea to investigate transportation options in your area and their cost. Public transportation is usually more affordable and point out the savings and convenience of using an alternative way of getting around.

When an aging parent doesn’t want to give up driving but is a danger, often families hide the car keys or make the car not drivable.  A better way of getting your parent to oblige is to make their doctor the bad guy and tell them they can’t drive anymore.  Rules and regulations vary from state to state.  A great resource to find out laws in your state would be to go to AAA website www.seniordriving.AAA.com.

References:

Read more at http://www.kiplinger.com/article/cars/T009-C004-S001-when-should-elderly-drivers-hang-up-the-car-keys.html#kQhQYqAAvsFgELba.99

6 Common Ways Bicyclists Get Injured or Struck By Cars

Many people want to ride their bikes to work or school.  Here are some things to think about before getting out on the road.

How many people are killed/injured riding bikes?

In 2013, 743 people died in bicycle or motor vehicle crashes.  This means just under 2 people every day of the year in the U.S. This is the highest number of fatalities since 2006, when 772 were killed.  It is also an increase from 682 bicyclist fatalities reported in 2011.  These numbers represent just over 2% of the total number of people killed and injured in traffic crashes in 2012.

The number of estimated bicyclist injuries were 49,000 in 2012 and dropped to 48,000 in 2013.  Injuries have stayed around 50,000 in recent years with 52,000 injuries in 2008, 51,000 in 2009, and 52,000 again in 2010. Research into hospital records shows that only around 10% of bicycle crashes causing injury are ever recorded by the police so the statistics and numbers would probably be higher.

Here are some numbers:

Bicyclist deaths in 2001: 732

Bicyclist deaths in 2013: 743

Reduction in bicyclist deaths between 2001 and 2011: 7.5%

Bicyclist injuries in 2001: 45,000

Bicyclist injuries in 2013: 48,000

Increase in bicyclist injuries between 2001 and 2011: 8.9%

The total cost of bicyclist injury and death is approximately $4 billion dollars per year.

 

Is bicycling more dangerous than other modes of travel?

Like any form of transportation, there are risks associated with riding a bicycle. Deaths by bicycle are around 2% of all traffic fatalities but only 1% of the population rides a bike.  At this time because of many variables like experience of the rider, alcohol or drug use, and location, we just don’t know how the biker risk compares to other modes.

Is bicycling getting safer?

There has been a 8.9% increase in fatalities from 2011 to 2013.  This doesn’t look good, but without knowing how many people are riding and how far they are riding, there’s no way of knowing whether the drop in crashes is because conditions are actually safer, more people are bicycling, or they’re bicycling in different locations.

 

Who is getting killed in bicycling crashes?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put out some numbers and here they are:

The average age of bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles continues to increase, climbing to 44 years old in 2013, up from 39 in 2004, 32 in 1998, and 24 in 1988.

83% of those killed were male.

68% of bicyclist fatalities occurred in urban areas.

22% of bicyclist fatalities occurred between 6 and 8:59 p.m.

20% of bicyclists killed had blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 g/dL or higher.

In 29% of the crashes, either the driver or the bicyclist had blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 g/dL or higher.

California (141), Florida (133), and Texas (48) lead the nation in the number of bicyclist fatalities.

Five states, Nebraska, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming, reported no fatalities in 2013.

 

So, what causes injuries?

Nearly a third of all injuries are caused when bicyclists are struck by cars.

Here are the 6 most common sources of Injury to bicyclists:

1. Hit by a car 29%

2. Fell 17%

3. Roadway or walkway not in good shape 13%

4. Rider not paying attention or error 13%

5. Crashed 7%

6. Dog ran out in front of bicycle 4%

There are many sources to find out about bicycle data:

* National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

* NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts

* Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

* Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)

There are several agencies that have keep data on walking and biking activity.  If you are looking for data, you may want to try these:

* Police Department

* Hospital or Emergency Rooms

* Local Department of Transportation

* Department of Public health

** I would check with the police department first, they may be able to steer you in other areas that may be helpful for you.

Bicyclists, be careful out there!

7 Common Mistakes Teens Make While Driving

Teens are pretty new at driving and they are still learning from the driving experience.  Below are some common mistakes that teens make that lead to car accidents.

1. Driving too fast:

Since teens are inexperienced, it is key for them to determine how long it takes to stop when necessary.  Speeding makes it hard to determine how long it will take to stop when you are an inexperienced driver.  Often, teens will compete with other drivers and drive faster because they think it is fun to do.  This is risky behavior and can lead to accidents.

2. Distractions:

Eating, cell phone use (texting and phone calls), adjusting the radio all take attention away from the road and make it hard to evaluate your surroundings.  We are in the technological age and kids are glued to their phones.  This can lead to being distracted and not being aware of other drivers on the road.

Did you know that sending one text will take a teenagers eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds.  At 55 miles per hour, 4.6 seconds means that they will drive a length of a football field before looking up again.  That is a large amount of real estate covered and when driving at such a speed, there can be a lot of damage done f there is a car accident.

Distracted driving is a leading cause of death to teens.

3. Teens take unnecessary risks:

Some of the most common things teenagers take risks on are:

* Not checking their blind spots

* Not using a turn signals

*  Speeding

* Driving while intoxicated

* Goofing around while driving

4. Not keeping a proper distance from the cars ahead

Teens often overestimate their ability to stop their cars in time. Teenagers have quick reflexes, but even the quickest reflexes don’t always work if you are too close to the car in front of you.

5. Not wearing a seat belt:

Seat belts are mandatory in California while driving and have been proven to decrease injuries when getting into a car accident. Teens sometimes don’t think they will get into a car accident or think it is not “cool” to wear one and they take unnecessary risks when deciding not to wear a seat belt.  Also, not wearing a seat belt can result in a large fine so it is not worth it!

6. Driving when tired:

Driving while tired delays reaction time, decreases mental awareness and can result in accidents.  It has also been shown to be worse than driving while intoxicated.  It is very serious and can lead to accidents which can not only hurt the tired driver, but anyone they may hit as a result. If tired, pull to the side of the road and rest until you feel okay to get behind the wheel.

7. Teen passengers:

Passengers can distract you, I remember being a teen in a car and we would drive and sing to songs and goof around in the car.  Passengers not only distract you but in some instances, a teen driver will drive more aggressively taking chances all in the name of fun.

It is hard to convince a teen about the seriousness of driving.  Often, teens feel like they are good drivers and are not aware of the risks they are taking until they are in an accident.  Parents, please talk to your teen about some of the risks so they are aware and will think twice about making the common mistakes in this article.

Good luck, and safe driving!

3 Ways Transport Dogs Safely in Pickup Trucks

I often see dogs in the back of trucks without any tethering or with a leash on.  This is very dangerous and irresponsible thing for a dog owner to do   Dogs without a restraint can easily fly out of the back of the truck not to mention, it is hard for the dog to stand or sit.  Having a leash attached to the inside the back of a truck can choke the dog.  I often get very frustrated at seeing this.  I am hoping the owner doesn’t know because otherwise this would be abuse in my opinion.

Transporting your dog  without a tether is a huge risk to the dog and to other motorists.  Hitting a bump in the road, turning quickly can have the dog ejected from the back of the truck and into traffic.  The dog can be run over leading to fractures, bruises and even death.  Letting your dog ride unsecured in the back of a pickup truck is not only unsafe and potentially deadly for dogs, it’s illegal in most states. California is one of the states where it is illegal, yet I see people almost daily with dogs in the back of their trucks sliding around on each turn.  I have to my knowledge never seen a police officer pull over the driver.   Even if not illegal in your state, responsible pet owners should keep their dogs safe.  Dogs provide so much love and affection for their owners, don’t you think it is the right thing to do by your dog?

If you didn’t know, here are some safe suggestions for your dog.

1. Buy a topper for the truck bed so your dog can ride in an enclosed area, protected from the road and wind hazards.  This is deemed the safest option.

2. A sturdy dog crate like the ones that the airports require.  This crate needs to be securely tied down to prevent it from sliding around the truck floor or falling out.

3. Cross tethering. These are sold at most pet stores.  Important to know that the leash should not be too long or you are defeating the purpose of the tethering as the dog can fall out of the truck.

These tethers are designed specifically for restraining dogs safely. A properly installed cross tether secures the animal to the truck in such a way that it can’t go over the bed or choke itself. The best tether to get is one that is padded to keep the dog comfortable.  Your dog will not choke with this tether and will feel more secure in the back of the truck.

Please be responsible and if you don’t have a proper way of transporting your dog in your truck.  Leave your dog safely home where they are safe!

7 Ways to Avoid Hitting a Deer While Driving

I know it is rare to see in San Francisco, but in the peninsula, there are a lot of deer on the side of the road.  Some seasons are more populous than others but hitting a deer anytime of the year is not something anyone wants.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year, resulting in 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage.  It is very traumatic when a deer jumps out in front of your car and you can’t do anything but brace yourself for the impact.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for deer while driving and what you should do if you do indeed hit a deer.

While driving:

  1. Watch for a pack.  Deer run together and when there is one, normally there is another around.  If you see any deer, slow down and keep an eye out for more, they can come out of the pack quickly.
  2. There are key times that deer like to hangout.  The key times are dusk and dawn.  Both of these time periods are when your vision is most compromised. Also, deer move around a lot during mating season (between October and January) this is during the time when it is dark early and very hard to see. Slow down and stay alert, especially after dark.
  3. Wear your seat belt.  If you do hit a deer, it can cause a lot of damage and it is like getting into a head on collision.  So with that said, you need to prevent yourself from getting severely injured.
  4. Know your surroundings and look for road signs. The yellow diamonds with the deer on it are placed in high-traffic areas for deer.  This is your first clue.  I am sure you may have heard the phrase “like a deer in the headlights” before.  This literally happens when a deer is on the road in front of your car.  They will turn toward you and their eyes will brightly reflect a car’s headlights, making them easier to spot.
  5. Stay Center. On a multi-lane road, the center lane is your safest bet for avoiding a deer collision, as long as your local traffic laws permit it. This gives deer plenty of space; and in case your vehicle does startle them, it gives you more time to react if one darts onto the road.
  6. If you see a deer, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane if possible.  Also, I have been told that instead of turning your wheel toward the head of the deer to aim toward the rear of the deer because the deer will probably run forward instead of backward.
  7. Put on your emergency lights to notify others of a hazard.  Some experts recommend that one long blast of the horn will scare deer off the road but sometimes it scares them into another car.  I also think it is a good idea to flash your lights to the cars on the other side of the road altering them as well.  They need to know just in case there are other deer in their pathway.

We hope you’ll never need this section.

According to most Car Insurance Agencies, if you do hit a deer, this is what they recommend.

  1. Pull to the side of the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights and remain in the vehicle until you are sure it is safe.
  3. Call emergency services if injuries are involved or the local police for property damage.
  4. Stay away from the deer. If it is still alive, it could be confused, injured and dangerous if approached. When contacting the authorities, let them know if the deer is in a dangerous spot on the road so that it can be removed.  In the bay area Animal Control comes to pick up the deer if it is injured or deceased on the road.
  5. Contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to report any damage to your vehicle.

Truck Accidents vs. Car Accidents – Which is Safer to Drive?

Everyone knows that driving can be dangerous.  Even the best drivers can be subjected to drivers who drive too fast , don’t obey the driving rules, drive recklessly, talk on their phones or are intoxicated.  This does increase the chance of even the best of us getting in a car accident.  Most of us hear about car accidents but there are many truck accidents as well.  In 2011, approximately 32,367 people were killed in the estimated 5,338,000 motor vehicle traffic crashes reported by the police department and 2,217,000 people were injured.  What that means is that on average, 89 people die every day in a car accident. That means 1 in every 16 minutes.   That is a lot more startling than I thought it would be.

All over the US, you see SUVs.  Most of the time with one person in them.  People say they feel safer in the larger vehicle.  So that brings up a question?  Does it matter if you are in a truck or a car when you get in a car accident?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, small or lighter vehicles (such as passenger cars) have less structure and size to absorb crash energy, resulting in higher crash force. So that means that in a car accident that involves a light vehicle v. a heavier car, more body damage will happen to the smaller car.

Here is a catch though.  Pickups and SUVs are higher risks for rolling over. So, it may be a fact that heavier cars are safer, it will all depend on the type of accident involving the truck or SUV.

Smaller vehicles can be crushed easier, run off the road or destroyed by a head-on collision by a heavier vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, more accidents occurred with cars than with trucks in 2011:

  • The number of occupants killed in accidents involving: passenger cars (11,981), light trucks (9,272) and large trucks (635).
  • The number of occupants injured in accidents involving: passenger cars (1,240,000), light trucks (728,000) and large trucks (23,000).
  • In 2011, there were 9,878 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities including drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, 24% for drivers of passenger cars, 21% for light-truck drivers, and 1% for drivers of large trucks.
  • 3,757 of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities involved large trucks (more than 10,000 pounds). Of those crashes, 72% were occupants of other vehicles and 17% were occupants of large trucks. 70% of large trucks collided with other vehicles in transit.

You must take into consideration that there are a lot more smaller vehicles on the road than larger trucks so these numbers may seem larger because of the amounts on the road.  The alcohol impaired driving statistics can be lowered by just calling a taxi, checking into a hotel room if you are drinking too much or having a friend drive.

Regardless of what type of vehicle you drive, please pay attention to what other people are doing, don’t consume alcohol and get in a vehicle and obey the phone and traffic laws.  Though you may think they are annoying, the laws are put there for a good reason and are passed for everyone’s protection.  If you drive a heavy vehicle, it doesn’t mean that the smaller cars have to yield to you.  Lets all be courteous and mindful of others on the road.

references: http://bigcitydriver.com/2013/06/comparison-truck-accidents-vs-car-accidents/

Professional Race Car Driver Injuries

 

I see a lot of people post car accident who worry about why they have an injury to the neck after what they think is a low impact car accident.  After reading this research, it is clear that car accidents cause damage, even if you are not a race car driver.  Professional race car drivers have top notch safety features.  Yes, they are going very fast but the cars are specially made for impact and drivers get injured.  Sometimes severely.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise that people driving a “regular” street car get injured when hit by another vehicle.

The following data is from an investigation regarding injuries during and after races between 1996 and 2000.  The results  were recorded through medical charts from the circuit medical centre at Fuji Speedway (one of  the largest circuits in Japan).  Race car drivers were from single seat/formula cars or saloon  cars.

Results: Data was obtained from 39 races in single seat cars (1030 participating cars) and 42 races in saloon  cars (1577 cars).

50 injuries were recorded during the single seat car races, and 62 during the saloon car races (injury rate 1.2 per  1000 competitors per race and 0.9 per 1000 competitors per race respectively). Thirteen injuries were recorded  after the race, 12 of them in saloon car racing. Bruises were the major injury in single seat car racing (58%). Lower limb bruising was more common than upper limb bruising. Most of the injuries in saloon car racing (53.2%) were neck sprains. The incidence of concussion was high in both groups compared with other high risk sports.

Conclusions: There were some differences in injuries between the two types of car. No serious injuries occurred except for one death. However, the driver’s body is subjected to large forces in a crash, hence the high incidence of concussion. The injuries recorded after the race emphasize that motor racing is a demanding sport.

Racing drivers are exposed to high risk situations such as car crashes. However, it is not clear exactly how much G force is loaded on the driver’s body in such situations. Because the driver’s muscles resist the G force in an actual crash, the G force loaded on the body may be smaller than that recorded by the car telemeters. Forces that cause severe injuries, such as concussions and fractures, are around 5–10 G, which are produced by acute deceleration of about 150–200 km/h.

Moreover, racing requires extraordinary physical performance in extreme conditions such as the high G forces caused by breaking and cornering, heavy steering, and high temperature. In addition, it is said that the heart rate increases up to 170–180 beats/min during cornering.1

Thus motor sport is highly risky and demanding, and injuries are recorded both during and after races. The purpose of this research was to draw attention to motor sport by investigating injuries of racing drivers and to present a profile of those injuries.

METHODS

Injuries recorded during and after races held at Fuji Speedway, which is one of the biggest circuits in Japan, between 1996 and 2000 were investigated retrospectively by using medical charts from the circuit medical centre. All drivers involved in crashes during the race were sent to the medical centre to be checked by a doctor, even if they did not complain of any symptoms; therefore no in-race injuries were overlooked. Some drivers may have gone directly to hospital, so some post-race injuries may have been missed.

The diagnoses of injured drivers who needed further examination at a hospital were recorded at the medical centre. Therefore, all injuries that were checked were recorded.

Neck pain resulting only from injured soft tissue was recorded as a neck sprain. Drivers who experienced either confusion or amnesia after the crash were diagnosed as having concussion. No driver lost consciousness as the result of a crash.

Two types of race were investigated, single seat/formula cars and saloon cars, as it was hypothesized that the difference in car design would result in different injuries. Only the main races involving professional drivers were selected for research, because the accident rate may be different between novice and professional drivers. During the five year study period, there were few changes in regulations on racing cars. This means that the type and incidence of injuries did not differ very much during these five years.

Injuries in single seat and saloon car racing showed that neck sprains and bruises were the most common in both types of car. All injuries to the neck were sprains. Therefore, in the analysis of injury type, neck sprains were not included in the sprains category, but were treated as a separate injury.

 

  Single seat car racing

The number of participating cars was 1030, in 39 races. Fifty injuries      (including one death) were recorded during the races and one afterwards.  The in-race injury rate was approximately 1.2 per 1000 competitors per  race.

Bruises made up 58% of the injuries, and neck sprains accounted for  34%. The other four injuries were: ankle sprain, abrasion, concussion,  and death. The death occurred when the car hit the sign board, which  stands at the start line, after being sent airborne when its tyre hit that of  another car in the straight section of the circuit. The cause of death was  recorded as cerebral contusion. The car may have hit the finishing gate  directly at more than 200 km/h because the gravel prevented effective  deceleration, so the death may have been instantaneous. Therefore, the  death was considered an isolated injury and was not included in the  analysis of site of injury. One driver with concussion was sent to hospital,  but there were no significant findings on computed tomography scan.

Analysis of the injured body sites showed that most injuries were to the neck 34%. The next most injured body sites were the lower limbs 24%; 11 of these 12 injuries were bruises and the other was an ankle sprain. The number of injuries to the upper limbs was smaller 14%. Six of these seven injuries were also bruises, and the other one was an abrasion. Head/face injuries accounted for 10%; four of these injuries were bruises to the head, and one was a concussion. This shows that the head was prone to hard impacts even though helmets were worn.

One driver seen at the medical centre after the race complained of pain in both forearms. This was thought to be compartment syndrome, but he had no nervous symptoms.

 Saloon car racing

The number of participating cars was 1577, in 42 races. There were 62 injuries recorded during the race and 12  afterwards. The in-race injury rate accounted for approximately 0.9 per 1000 competitors per race.

Most of the in-race injuries were neck sprains 53%. Bruises accounted for 27%; this was much less than in single  seat car racing. There were five fractures; these were diagnosed at the hospital. Three were tibial, one was an L1  burst fracture, and another was a Bennett fracture. The rest of the injuries were concussion, sprain, and  abrasion. Two drivers who had concussion were also sent to the hospital; there were no significant findings on  computed tomography scan.

The neck was the most commonly injured body site 53%. The next most common site of injury was the upper limbs 21%, more than lower limb injuries, which accounted for 16%. Head/face injuries accounted for 5%; two of these were concussions and one was a face abrasion. The abrasion may have occurred because the helmet rubbed against the face when it shifted during impact.

More injuries were recorded after the race than for single seat cars. Four of the 12 “injuries” were dehydration. One driver had a stomach ache, and the other seven cases were Orthopaedic problems. Two of the latter were right shoulder pain, and the drivers could not lift their arms.

DISCUSSION

There are some difficulties in analyzing the incidence of injuries among racing drivers, because the conditions of each race are not always the same. The number of participating cars can vary from race to race. As the number of cars increases, more accidents are likely to occur. Also, the speed is different in each category—accidents with faster cars may be more common and severe than with slower cars. Therefore the injury incidence can differ from race to race. These factors which are specific to motor sport make analysis difficult.

We selected races involving professional drivers only because there may be a difference between incidents involving novice drivers and those involving professional drivers. Furthermore, the racing cars used in professional categories are faster. In addition, we investigated two different types of car, saloon and single seat, hypothesizing that the difference in car design would affect the injury profile. The main differences are: (a) the saloon car has a roof—that is, the cockpit is an enclosed space—but the single seat car is open; (b) the cockpit of the single seat car is cramped, especially with regard to leg room. In contrast, the cockpit of the saloon car is relatively spacious.

Bruises accounted for 27% of the injuries in saloon car racing, whereas bruises accounted for 58% of the injuries in single seat car racing. Analysis of the body sites where bruises occurred in the two groups showed that lower limb injuries were more common in single seat car racing, and upper limb injuries were more common in saloon car racing. This can be explained by the lack of leg room in single seat cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States investigates traffic accidents, using the National Accident Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (CDS). Their data for car accidents between 1988 and 1989 show that injuries to the arms are more common than to the legs.  This is the same as our data on saloon cars, the design of which is based on ordinary cars. In our research, neck injuries accounted for 53% and head/face injuries 5% of the total in saloon cars. In single seat cars, the corresponding percentages were 34% and 10%. The distance to the steering wheel is short in single seat cars compared with saloon cars, so drivers are susceptible to hitting their head/face on the steering wheel when they crash. This may explain the higher head/face injury rate. The chances of hitting the steering wheel may be low in saloon car racing, but tension forces on the neck may be higher when the head has to stop without hitting something. Therefore the neck injury rate in saloon car racing is high. The head/face injury rate was not high in either group compared with CDS data (39%), and all injuries were classified as abbreviated injury scale (AIS) 1, which is produced by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (table 2).This is because racing drivers are restrained by six point seat belts, and helmets protect their heads.

 

The percentage of neck injuries was high in both groups, but there were no serious injuries such as fractures or dislocations, and all neck injuries were sprains classified as AIS 1. This may be because the driver’s neck does not encounter excessive pure tensile, tension-extension, and lateral bending loading. It has been suggested that pure tensile loading on the neck without any other force must exceed 100 G to produce severe neck injuries.  Such a G force is not likely to occur in most crashes. Furthermore, even though the driver hits his head somewhere in the cockpit, the neck may not encounter traumatic tension-extension and lateral bending loading. This is because the six point seatbelt restrains the body from moving too much when the car crashes, and thus the head does not strike the front with excessive force, which may produce tension-extension injury. Moreover, the headrest of the bucket seat used in the saloon car and the design of the single seat car, which protects the sides and back of the head, also prevent tension-extension and lateral bending loading.

Two out of three head/face injuries in saloon cars and one out of six head/face injuries in single seat cars were concussions. The three patients with concussions had amnesia or confusion, but no loss of consciousness. This incidence of concussion is approximately 1.3 per 1000 drivers in saloon car racing (which is a rate of about 4.8% per race) and approximately 1.0 per 1000 drivers in single seat car racing (which is a rate of about 2.6% per race). In soccer, which has a comparably high incidence of concussion to American football, the rate of concussion is 0.15–0.34 per 1000 athlete exposures (estimated rates are about 1–2% per season for a typical female or male collegiate soccer player).This shows that motor racing has a high rate of concussion compared with other high risk sports, even though drivers are protected by seat belts and helmets.

What is already known

Racing drivers are known to suffer various disorders; low back pain is typical. Injuries are known to occur in motor sport, but there are few data on the injuries specific to this sport

What this study adds

Injuries to racing drivers during and after the race were investigated. A difference was found between injuries in single seat and saloon car racing. Neck injuries were not severe, but the concussion rate was higher than in other sports.

There is now a device to prevent head and neck injuries called the head and neck support (HANS). This is designed to reduce movement of the driver’s head in a crash and thereby the force on the neck. In our research, there were no fatal neck injuries, but many neck sprains. This device may prevent such neck injuries and may also decrease head injuries. It is not certain how concussions occur when racing cars crash. It may be the result of hitting the head against something in the cockpit or the result of the sudden acceleration of the head. HANS restricts head movement through tethers attached to the driver’s helmet, therefore it may cause the head to stop suddenly during a crash. We are concerned that such an abrupt deceleration may result in traumatic force on the brain.

 

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