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Author Topic: NJ Helmet Law  (Read 5911 times)

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Offline Isk8NYC

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NJ Helmet Law
« on: March 29, 2015, 05:45:51 PM »
NJ is proposing an extension to their existing roller skating/skate boarding helmet law so that ice skating will require helmets for kids 17 and under.  It does allow FS competitors to go without a helmet.

http://files.ctctcdn.com/8c65664f001/fe4cb799-1bb0-44b5-ac94-4ad4d87f243d.pdf

Wonder how it would be applied to the young elite skaters participating a professional skating show like Stars on Ice?
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Offline skategeek

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 05:59:01 PM »
Interesting.  I wonder if being in a LTS class counts as being under the supervision of a coach?  (Our rink currently requires helmets for kids 7 and under in LTS, but I don't think it's a legal requirement.)  And how are they defining "organized competition"?  Would an in-house (non-USFSA or ISI) competition count?

Offline Query

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2015, 06:59:33 PM »
Quote
"ICE SKATES" MEANS A PAIR OF SHOES OR LIGHT BOOTS
WITH PERMANENTLY FIXED RUNNERS FOR SKATING ON ICE.

My skates aren't light. Are screws permanent? :)

Someone should suggest they require all ice to be soft. No hockey ice!

Offline ChristyRN

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2015, 07:11:53 PM »
I don't think it's a bad thing, but I also think it's like motorcycle helmets. There will always be some who think the government should keep out of personal lives, even when laws make sense. There's no denying that seatbelts and motorcycle helmets save lives, but there's the population that lives by the thought that they didn't wear seatbelts or bike helmets, put kids in car seats, or come in before dark after roaming the neighborhood all day long and yet they survived to adulthood.

I wonder if Crasche bands would be considered helmets or enough protection?
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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2015, 08:55:35 PM »
The issue is, there is no ASTM approved figure skating helmet. So NJ can mandate all they want, but unless there's a certified skating helmet there's a large chance that an improperly selected bicycle helmet can make an injury worse. Hello lawsuits!

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Offline skategeek

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2015, 09:38:25 PM »
Hmm.  Good point.  Are there approved helmets for roller skating/skateboarding?  Because it sounds like the existing law already covers those.  I wonder if that point has ever been brought up.

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2015, 09:49:35 PM »
ASTM lists standards for Hockey, short track speed skating, roller skating, trick roller skating, but NO figure skating helmet.

This isn't just NJ saying "oh, bicycle helmets are good enough."  Helmets are designed to standards based on tests.

I wonder if ASTM is aware that NJ is posting this law....hmmm.
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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 10:01:04 PM »
And so I just sent an email to the president of ASTM pointing out the proposed law in the event his organization wishes to comment.
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Offline skategeek

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 10:08:48 PM »
Troublemaker. :)  Hopefully it'll avoid an ill-conceived law.

Offline Query

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2015, 10:41:25 AM »
Your email to ASTM may just cause them to create a standard, and then you won't be able to use bicycle helmets, Crasche bands, Ice Halo, Force Field Headband Rib Cap, eetc. Which will make other figure skaters unhappy.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I very much doubt that these standards are based on real world tests, using real people and real accidents.

So, do you think the law will pass, and will NJ start a trend?

----------------------------------

Should anyone want to fight the law, for any reason, try looking for statistics on how injury rates relate to helmet use. E.g.,

  http://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/HeadDownContactAndSpearingInTackleFB.pdf
  http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/01/09/concussion-epidemic-should-helmets-be-banned-from-football/
  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/sports/on-slopes-rise-in-helmet-use-but-no-decline-in-brain-injuries.html?_r=0
  http://www.scarlettlawgroup.com/blogs/position-paper-asserts-helmets-mouth-guards-prevent-concussions-sports
 
William E. Prentice, Daniel D. Arnheim, Arnheim's Principles of Athletic Training, which used to be the primary text book for certified athletic trainers (I don't know if it still is), said (I don't have the exact quote handy) that stated that introducing helmets into a sport always dramatically increases injury rates (but typically reduces death rates), probably because people become more careless when they trust helmets to protect them.

If that turns out not to be the current main textbook, This study cited on the National Athletic Trainers' Association website, says somewhat the same thing, for concussions - but still recommends helmet use.

Quote
The committee found little evidence that current sports helmet designs reduce the risk of concussions.  It stressed that properly fitted helmets, face masks, and mouth guards should still be used, because they reduce the risk of other injuries -- such as skull fractures; bleeding inside the skull; and injuries to the eyes, face, and mouth.  The marketing for some protective devices designed for youth athletes, such as mouth guards and headbands for soccer, has advertised that these devices reduce concussion risk, but there is a lack of scientific evidence to support such claims, the committee said.

In the case of figure skating, I suspect helmets would increase how often people try admittedly non-standard moves like back flips, head bangers, etc., which risk banging your head on the ice.

There are also articles which indicate that to some extant, imperfectly fit helmets often cause injuries, though I haven't looked at the literature in detail. Realistically, most people won't bother to do the kind of modifications (especially, for group lessons, rentals, etc.) needed to make helmets fit well.

My personal belief is that if you know how to fall properly, a helmet increases injury rates during falls on the ice, because it gets in the way and reduces your range of motion, and on a backwards fall, tucking your head a little might no longer be sufficient to avoid contact with the ice - but I have no statistics to back that up, and many figure skaters don't practice deliberate falls much.

If we did want a well designed figure skating helmet, I suggest we would want a hard shell and a face mask to prevent sharp injuries from other people's skates skating into you, padded on the inside by closed cell foam (like carpet padding), to absorb impact, with good ways to adjust fit, and a reliable strap to hold it on securely.

But realistically, most figure skaters won't want to wear helmets for reasons unrelated to safety issues. For example, they may feel that your technique may be learned biased by the weight and moments of inertia of the helmet, which would make it harder to learn proper technique when not using helmets, and that it would therefore make American skaters less competitive.

In addition, they will say that helmets look "dorky".

I personally think gloves prevent more injuries than helmets.

Offline skategeek

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2015, 11:24:41 AM »
Here's a recent article about it:  http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/03/kids_would_have_to_wear_helmets_while_ice_skating.html

It notes specifically that there's no standard for ice skating, and links to the CPSC page listing helmet standards:

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Sports-Fitness-and-Recreation/Bicycles/Which-Helmet-for-Which-Activity/

For skating, it says that wearing bicycle, skateboarding, or other listed helmets "may be preferable to wearing no helmet at all."  Or not...

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2015, 12:12:27 PM »
I dunno.  I can't imagine falling on a bike helmet (on the ice).  I've seen kids faceplant too, but in group lessons never seen a fall resulting in an injury more serious than a cut. I think I fall in line with the representative who stated it was a solution in search of a problem.

But then again, I don't work in an ER, and I don't work at the rink.  I do see some of the kids (mostly hockey kids and the ice-freestylers, but not always just them) doing some whacked out things.  If they take someone out I can see that there is potential for a serious injury.  I don't know how often these things happen in reality though, and if those injuries are more often to the heads or limbs.  But falling on a bike helmet (because you know that's what most kids will wear) seems like it'd just cause more injuries.  My rink supplies helmets, but I don't let my kids touch them out of fear for headlice.  Some people do choose to wear them, most don't.  We don't have rink guards or anyone to police anything.

Sounds like our kind of people would be exempt though.  So we won't see helmets on freestyle sessions. 

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2015, 01:06:44 PM »
Most of our local rinks require ALL skaters at public skating sessions to wear hockey or ski helmets (and actually say no bicycle helmets so can't see them allowing crasche, ribcap, forcefield or ice halo), and each season more make it a requirement. I'm not sure about LTS - the kids have to wear hockey helmets when they start and I think it's required until they pass a certain level, and they strongly advise hockey or ski helmets for adult learners too.
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Offline jlspink22

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2015, 01:44:50 PM »
LTS in south jersey recommends or requires helmets for under 6, depending on the rink and always for hockey. I found my daughter more distracted by the helmet and less paying attention to her feet and surroundings when she first started. Now I don't fear her falling on her own as she has quite mastered falling, it's other people knocking her over. 

As an adult I'll take my own risks.

We have roller rinks here and they don't enforce helmets.

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Offline riley876

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2015, 02:48:02 PM »
Quote
One helmet, CCM's V04, was classified as "not recommended" after testing showed that players who wore it could incur a predicted 9.3 concussions per season.

:o

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2015, 03:16:54 PM »
If we did want a well designed figure skating helmet, I suggest we would want a hard shell and a face mask to prevent sharp injuries from other people's skates skating into you, padded on the inside by closed cell foam (like carpet padding), to absorb impact, with good ways to adjust fit, and a reliable strap to hold it on securely.

The style is pretty irrelevant, but if they insist on standards with incredibly high impact protection (i.e. F1447 or Z90.4 or CPSC), then low speed impact protection will continue to be non-existent.   And I'd suspect 99% of ice skating (or skateboarding or roller derby) head hits are low speed hits.

If I was tasked with making a "figure skating helmet", and I didn't have to follow any insane impact standards (that are meant for vehicle speed impacts),  I'd simply take a standard skateboarding/roller derby style helmet, and simply make the foam 1/3 as dense.   

Never going to fly though.  I suspect most people would rather give up the sport than wear an obvious helmet.  Especially kids.


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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2015, 07:44:54 PM »
Now I don't fear her falling on her own as she has quite mastered falling, it's other people knocking her over. 

I thought I had mastered falling until I woke up in the neuro ICU with several days worth of amnesia. Four months later, I still don't know what happened, other than I was in my skates and on the ice.
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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2015, 08:07:02 AM »

I thought I had mastered falling until I woke up in the neuro ICU with several days worth of amnesia. Four months later, I still don't know what happened, other than I was in my skates and on the ice.


Don't get me wrong there is always that risk! I mean you could break your neck in gymnastics, but it's a risk mitigated by proper technique and supervision. It's a risk you take or allow your child to take.

I think this is a case of another nanny law to protect ice tourists and beginners who lack common sense.

I hope it doesn't affect our ice shows that the club puts on for the parents.


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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2015, 02:55:26 PM »
Going to try my Crasche tonight at LTS. The large is snug on me with all of the pads so I am going to use the 2 rear pads only. I wear glasses and the side pads press on the frames. The rear is what I am most concerned about anyway.
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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2015, 05:28:39 PM »
This is very poorly worded:

"A PERSON UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO WEAR A HELMET WHILE OPERATING ICE SKATES AS REQUIRED IN SUBSECTION B. OF THIS SECTION IF THE PERSON IS UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A COACH AND IS PRACTICING FOR, OR
´┐╝PARTICIPATING IN, AN ORGANIZED FIGURE SKATING COMPETITION"

When am I practicing with a coach's supervision?  In a private lesson, yes.  In a group lesson when the coach is watching someone else? When I am on the ice, but my persoanl coach is in a lesson with another skater?   What about when my coach isn't there, but there are the other coaches on the ice who I am not contracted with?  To meet this law, means I am going to have to be in a private lesson every single moment i am on the ice?

There is an "AND" part of this law.  Not only does my coach have to be there but I have to be  "practicing for or participating in an organized figure skating competition."     What about testing?  What if I am practicing for a figure skating test?  What if my religion does not permit me to ever compete (thinking of Jehovah's Witnesses who take classes and test, but do not compete.).  What is the state going to require to prove that I am getting ready for competition?  Is it my dream of skating at Nationals enough to prove it?  Or, do I need to be in that 30/60 day window where I have actually signed up for a competition?  What about the months were I am practicing and building my program, but not presently signed up for a committed competition?  On the flip side, am I less likely to fall if I am practicing for a competition?     To be honest, that's when I go into full mode with hard practices.  Where is the State's data to say that they have the right to protect me less if I am going to a competition?   it's counter-intuitive. 

What the law should read is to allow any child's parents or legal guardian to completely waive the helmet requirement at any and all times if they are in an organized figure skating program OR they periodically meet with a certified coach.

The difference is that motorcycles/bikes are operated on public roads, so the state has more of a "right" to regulate it.  But, figure skating is usually done on private property and by private citizens.  Since when does the state have a right to require helmets in non-state ice skating facilities?

********

Now, NJ is wanting to do this for "health and safety", and I see issues with beginners and freak skating falls.  But, at least the people are getting out there and exercising.   I can fall down while cleaning my shower.  Where's the helmet law for operating Tilex?   

And, where is the law for the parents who allow their kids to play video games 24/7, feed them fast/junk food all the time?   Inactivity and junk food are what's really killing America, nto figure skating.   Very few people have died as a cause of figure skating.  But, alot have died from a sedentary lifestyle.   So, let's regulate the figure skaters to wearing helmets but permissively allow the coach potato kids to flourish?  This law makes me mad!    It's another attempt at the nanny state where only the government knows best. 

Now, it will become another headache for rinks to try to implement.   People don't even lace up their skates correctly, but now the rink monitors are going to have to make sure everyone wears a helmet, it's properly attached, etc.  And, if the rink staff screws up, the rink is now extra liable because there is a law on the subject that sets the minimum standard of care.

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2015, 05:37:19 PM »
I thought I had mastered falling until I woke up in the neuro ICU with several days worth of amnesia. Four months later, I still don't know what happened, other than I was in my skates and on the ice.

I hope you are OK now!

Do you now wear a helmet when you skate? If so, would it have protected the part of your head that was injured?

Perhaps you'll never know whether you fell, or whether someone smashed into you hard enough to do you harm.

I've mentioned this here before, but many years ago I remember bicycling as fast as I could to catch up to a club ride. I woke up in a hospital post-surgery. (With many pieces of my ultra-light foam helmet on the bed stand next to me), remembering nothing else of what happened. I later learned that I was conscious enough after the accident to have had at least two conversations (one with the EMTs, one with the person in whose yard I left my bike), but remembered neither.

I recently told that to an anesthesiologist. She told me that anesthesiologists include chemicals that are designed to give you short term memory loss before surgery, so you won't remember the pain. She thought that was a somewhat more likely explanation for the memory loss than the concussion I presumably suffered.



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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2015, 06:07:12 PM »
FYI since I live in New Jersey I emailed the two reps whose names were attached to the amendment. Particularly asking them to clarify the practicing for or participating in "competition" part since most young skaters also participate in exhibition events. I said that as a parent of a figure skater, I am well aware of the risks of the sport and that they need to consider that when making a broad rule meant to mostly cover beginners and casual skaters (ie ice tourists).

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2015, 06:11:08 PM »
This is very poorly worded:

"A PERSON UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO WEAR A HELMET WHILE OPERATING ICE SKATES AS REQUIRED IN SUBSECTION B. OF THIS SECTION IF THE PERSON IS UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A COACH AND IS PRACTICING FOR, OR
´┐╝PARTICIPATING IN, AN ORGANIZED FIGURE SKATING COMPETITION"

When am I practicing with a coach's supervision?  In a private lesson, yes.  In a group lesson when the coach is watching someone else? When I am on the ice, but my persoanl coach is in a lesson with another skater?   What about when my coach isn't there, but there are the other coaches on the ice who I am not contracted with?  To meet this law, means I am going to have to be in a private lesson every single moment i am on the ice?

There is an "AND" part of this law.  Not only does my coach have to be there but I have to be  "practicing for or participating in an organized figure skating competition."     What about testing?  What if I am practicing for a figure skating test?  What if my religion does not permit me to ever compete (thinking of Jehovah's Witnesses who take classes and test, but do not compete.).  What is the state going to require to prove that I am getting ready for competition?  Is it my dream of skating at Nationals enough to prove it?  Or, do I need to be in that 30/60 day window where I have actually signed up for a competition?  What about the months were I am practicing and building my program, but not presently signed up for a committed competition?  On the flip side, am I less likely to fall if I am practicing for a competition?     To be honest, that's when I go into full mode with hard practices.  Where is the State's data to say that they have the right to protect me less if I am going to a competition?   it's counter-intuitive. 

What the law should read is to allow any child's parents or legal guardian to completely waive the helmet requirement at any and all times if they are in an organized figure skating program OR they periodically meet with a certified coach.


********

Now, NJ is wanting to do this for "health and safety", and I see issues with beginners and freak skating falls.  But, at least the people are getting out there and exercising.   I can fall down while cleaning my shower.  Where's the helmet law for operating Tilex?   

And, where is the law for the parents who allow their kids to play video games 24/7, feed them fast/junk food all the time?   Inactivity and junk food are what's really killing America, nto figure skating.   Very few people have died as a cause of figure skating.  But, alot have died from a sedentary lifestyle.   So, let's regulate the figure skaters to wearing helmets but permissively allow the coach potato kids to flourish?  This law makes me mad!    It's another attempt at the nanny state where only the government knows best. 

Now, it will become another headache for rinks to try to implement.   People don't even lace up their skates correctly, but now the rink monitors are going to have to make sure everyone wears a helmet, it's properly attached, etc.  And, if the rink staff screws up, the rink is now extra liable because there is a law on the subject that sets the minimum standard of care.

This is what happens when people need to justify their elected position with a law that they do not really know anything about. Again, they do not usually enforce helmets at the indoor roller rinks here. Can tell you that much. The cops have better things to do than police skating rinks.