Neck Brace for XC?

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Neck Brace for XC?

Postby JayKay3000 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 15:03 pm

Sup, this is a little long, but I've been in recovery from a broken neck for the last few months due to a fall that caught me unaware and thus nearly killed me (mid 20's). I was riding mostly black graded runs, XC trails stuff, natural trails and the occasional trip up snowdon and cadair idris with the intention of upping my skill in these areas. Infact I've penciled in Snowdon for 2013 assuming the docs tell me I can ride again. Lets presume for now that they do.

Part of my strategy to get back into the hobby I love is not only a new bike for 2013 (going to test ride a Trance X 29er), but some protective gear because I look at the near misses and think the I should have used something. I wore a standard helmet. I realise protective gear won't save you every time, but I'm thinking it's better to have it and never use it and never use it and wish you had it. I'm in the latter category.

First on my list for extra protection is neck braces as I see them in DH, but they are quite expensive, seem overkill and before the accident I would have laughed at the idea. I've looked into them and am interested, but would like to know if anyone has had any experience with them.

Toying with the idea of a back protector as well.

Knee pads are on the list and I was looking at getting some before the accident. Most of my riding buddies wear these.

Young readers who think they are invincible may laugh at my thinking, but feel free to post constructive comments or if you've had mtb accidents where your protective gear did not help at all. I may be calling the neck brace the wrong thing.

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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby supersonic » Sun Dec 09, 2012 15:05 pm

Is all about risk assessment - if you feel it warrants it, go for it! You have some circumstances that sound like they do indeed warrant it.

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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby Uli » Sun Dec 09, 2012 15:38 pm

As above if you think you need it then go for it. Two things I have noticed with protection gear are:
- sometimes people think they are invincible as they wear it. Noted that in different sports.
- it is very uncomfy- especially during long rides- that may actually put you off biking.

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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby The Northern Monkey » Sun Dec 09, 2012 16:07 pm

Aren't neck braces in DH used to prevent the weight of a full face helmet snapping your neck?
Not even sure they work with wee-wee pots!

I wear knee pads every ride and have an evoc with back protector..

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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby tudj » Sun Dec 09, 2012 17:43 pm

The Northern Monkey wrote:Aren't neck braces in DH used to prevent the weight of a full face helmet snapping your neck?

This was recently posted in a discussion on my club forums regarding neck braces:

Now I know that may sound really obvious, what I am talking about is wearing it before or after the race. The medics have warned me that if you ever fell or tripped over (especially backwards) whilst wearing the brace you could be really f*&ked (medical term). As the brace would almost act as a pivot point on your neck and the added leverage and weight of your head and the force of the fall could damage your spinal cord and kill you or put you in a wheel chair.'

From the above I think it's safe to conclude that a neck brace should not be used with anything other than a full-face helmet, as you say they don't protect your neck under normal circumstances, they protect it from the forces that can be exerted by the weight of a full-face lid.

That's my understanding anyway :D

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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby miss notax » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:56 am

That was my understanding - that a neck brace works alongside a FF helmet. Wouldn't work with a xc lid, and indeed reading the last post it might make it catastophically worse :(

Regarding the rest of the body armour / protection, I think it's up to the individual to wear what they think is appropriate, just as it's up to each person to decide to ride / not ride something. I don't think anyone with half a brain would ever really take the mickey out of anyone because of what they wear.... Attempting the Mega this year really clarified my perspective on things like this - you have to do whats right for YOU and everyone else can poke it :twisted:
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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby b45her » Wed Dec 12, 2012 17:55 pm

as has been mentioned above, neck braces are designed to work alongside a full face helmet they use the bottom lip of the helmet to limit head deflection and transfer impact forces through the brace and onto tougher parts of your upper body. without a fullface helmet they do absolutely nothing.
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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby Northwind » Sat Dec 15, 2012 00:32 am

As above- Leatt brace or similiar without a full face helmet is more dangerous, not less. And to be blunt, the medical benefits are not well proven.

Spines: Where was your break incidentally? I guess you'll know this, but different locations are generally broken in different ways, so you avoid them in different ways. Lower- thoracic and lumbar- are most likely to be caused on an mtb by falling on them hard or onto some anvil, so back protector can obviously help that- though tbh a camelbak with soft things and water in it will also give a lot of protection! Evoc make rucksacks that can take an e-marked spine protector, quite clever. Not as full protection as a standalone protector though, limited at the base. And obviously, don't carry hard things against your spine.

It's perfectly possible to ride XC in a full pressure-suit style body suit. I wouldn't do it in mine, it's grim, but not everyone runs as hot as I do, and some people consider it worthwhile. Mate of mine races XC in head-to-toe jousting armour, more protection than I choose for downhill normally!

C-spine are more commonly caused by landing on your noggin and that's harder to protect against. You can help a little by using the lightest and smallest helmet you can find- less weight means less stress, less size means less leverage. Fullface and leatt is an option but I wouldn't want to ride like that all the time.

Knees: Thing about knees is, they're what you tend to land on, they're fairly delicate, and they're useful. So it makes a lot of sense to protect them. Soft knee pads are (if they fit right and they're good) comfortable and unrestrictive, I ride all day in mine- even XC races and sweaty french summer climbs. The argument for kneepads is almost as good as that for helmets, in some ways better. Not essential of course but I barely ride without mine and I've been glad of it, even if it never stops a big injury (because they're rare) mine have paid for themselves many times over in skin and bruises.

Hips: See above about things you land on that are useful. Hips and pelvises are quite tough and tend to heal well but trust me, breaking your femur sucks balls. Can be protected against fairly well with padded shorts like 661's Bombers. These are sweatier than normal lycra shorts, but tolerable. But the benefits aren't huge because you're not actually very likely to break a hip.

Elbows- another sticky out thing, but a wee bit harder to pad up than knees, and tend not to get hit as hard.

Aaand lastly... New post.
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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby Northwind » Sat Dec 15, 2012 00:33 am

Crashing less... Number one injury prevention is crashing less. Not to say you're bad on a bike but everyone can be better. £100 on body armour could possibly go better on a skills course. Or, you might end up getting better and going faster and crashing bigger ;)

Crashing better... I'm lucky, I crash pretty well, lots of folks don't. Things like judo can help, getting the tuck-and-roll instinct so it's reflexive.
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Re: Neck Brace for XC?

Postby JayKay3000 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 20:22 pm

At least that puts that one to rest. Better that I asked here before rushing out and buying something.

Thanks for the help though even though I feel and felt a bit silly for asking.

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