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Author Topic: NJ Helmet Law  (Read 5916 times)

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Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2015, 06:12:38 PM »
1. For very little kids, head protection is a good idea.
2. For ice tourists on rental skates head protection is a good idea because, a. they don't know how to skate and b. rental skates are crap and can lead to accidents
3. For 11 - 18 year old boys, required helmets will make them skate harder and faster thus generating more accidents in the people they run into while the over enthusiatic "I'm protected jackass," gets off scot free.
4. Helmets on freestyle skaters can result in more accidents since they block off peripheral vision on crowded freestyles, and screw up the  skater's balance.
I know, I know, there's always someone who says "My child/my neighbor/I would have been spared pain/injury/whatever" If child/neighbor/I wore a helmet.
However:
Laws are supposed to be made to protect a population, not the individual. A helmet law can actually cause MORE injuries in the population, because they're UNANTICIPATED injuries that the lawmaker who though "Oh, must prevent injuries from a fall!" didn't think of. Blocking off peripheral vision can cause a crash resulting in TWO rather than ONE skater injury.

And for an instance of a poorly instituted helmet law, I give you girls lacrosse in Florida: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/31/sports/in-girls-lacrosse-a-move-in-the-name-of-safety-sparks-debate.html?_r=0
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Offline riley876

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2015, 06:38:13 PM »
Skate(board) style helmets DON'T restrict peripheral vision (e.g. http://www.amazon.com/ProTec-3APROCPS010XSR4-P-Protec-Classic-Helmet/dp/B0043E0T4Q ).   I know because I use one, and I use my peripheral vision extremely vigilantly.   I doubt hockey helmets (unless they have a cage or other face protection) would either, because the eyes sufficiently in front of the helmet sides.

And balance is a completely learned thing.   An hour or two MAXIMUM for any even slightly experienced skater would fix any issues.  I can't believe that we aren't all adaptable enough to cope with a minor change like a 400g helmet.   I've always skated with a helmet, but I have forgotten to wear it a couple of times, and I didn't even notice, until the airy breeze gave it away.   (Not that I'm doing anything too technical)

I get that figure skating people in general don't want to wear a helmet, for effectively fashion reasons.   And that's fine, I personally don't think anyone should be made to,  but these 2 things (peripheral vision and balance) are simply red herrings.

Offline Neverdull44

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2015, 06:52:51 PM »
It's not the criminal law and the cops enforcing it that I am worried about.   (criminal is put in jail)  It's the civil law (suing for money & damages) that I see happening if rinks are not following these rules.  You see, when there is a law that mandates something for health and safety, then not having that law complied with causes the tortfeasor to be easily held liable for monetary damages.    The rinks are going to have to enforce it, because their attorney and liability insurance are going to require it.   Or, they are going to have to pay out millions of dollars when someone falls.

Again, this is private property with private citizens.  Imagine if the law was "Every patron in a grocery store must wear a helmet."   Well, there are alot of slip & falls in a grocery store!  Regulating private entities and private actors is crossing the line.

I would have a very hard time doing jumps & spins with a helmet.   My head weighs 10 pounds, and adding something to it that would move even just little independently from my head would screw up my timing and body weight distribution.   Helmets don't fit like gloves.   But, under NJ law I'd be able to not wear it when a coach is present and I'm signed up for an actual competition?  I'd be relearning every move.     I do wear Crasche head guards & butt pads & knee pads, especially when learning new footwork.   Crasche fits like a headband with no independent movement, and doesn't weigh anything so as to change my body's center of gravity.     And, wearing those things is my independent choice and I like it that way.

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Offline jlspink22

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2015, 05:53:19 AM »
Every show and competition put on our club has a no liability clause for the rink and club. Hopefully that takes care of those.


And most skaters don't wear helmets after learning the basic skills....

I can't see how a helmet would not throw off a double axel or complicated spin. I mean when you are spinning at a high rev per minute if that helmet is slightly off or not tight enough ... Hmmm wonder what would happen. Anyone up for an experiment?

Offline ChristyRN

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2015, 08:06:11 PM »
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.



Mostly. I find I have to make lists at work so I'll remember all the supplies I'm asked to get (I'm and OR nurse) or I'll forget them.

I wear a Crasche band. I figured that was the best choice for me as I'm usually hot when I skate and I'd never keep the helmet on. As it is, I sweat under the band, but not too bad. No other issues unless I don't get my hair right and it pulls some of it.

I'd kind of like to know which move I was working on when I fell. My coach says the back crossover to back outside edge (bronze)has deteriorated the most since my fall, so maybe that was it. I'll never know since there were no witnesses.
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Offline amy1984

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #30 on: April 02, 2015, 01:28:15 AM »
I have seen very few head injuries in figure skating. Not saying they never happen.  But it's a risk you take in the sport.  You could fall on your head in gymnastics.  Be dropped by your dance partner in ballet.  Maybe these athletes should wear helmets too?  I, personally, have been hit not once, not twice, but three times in the face with a fastball as a kid (making it more risky for me than skating) and no one is writing laws about helmets while fielding in baseball.  There is risk in sport.  We cannot bubble wrap our kids.  We need to be reasonable.  Learning to skate?  Helmet.  For sure.  But higher up?  I don't think so.  In fact, I would argue that the lack of sight lines might cause more collisions on crowded ice.  Less chance of a head injury, but more people being knocked over.  And lord knows my jumps and spins would suffer with a helmet.  Bike helmets are actually banned where I skate because the back of them is unsafe for skating.  And I can't think of another helmet that wouldn't restrict my movement.

Just my two cents.

Offline riley876

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2015, 04:53:47 AM »

Online dlbritton

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2015, 09:00:27 PM »
Wore my Crasche at practice the other day, but only had the 2 rear pads in. I have a large, they need extra large, which is too tight with the other pads and presses on my glasses. I am most worried about backward falls and figure I won't hit my forehead on the ice with a great deal of force if I fall forward, my hands or knees will probably hit first. I wear elbow and knee pads and wrist guards, so one more item isn't too extreme.

The Crasche was unobtrusive, but I did sweat in it a bit. I look a bit like Orville Redenbacher with my hair poking up with it on though.     
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Offline Query

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2015, 02:52:35 PM »
1. For very little kids, head protection is a good idea...

I personally think that helmets and other padding, especially gloves, are a good idea for beginners of all ages, though our rink's experience with unreturned helmets does indicate potential economics issues. (OTOH, most of those that we lend out were accidentally left at the rink - our "lost and found" accumulates a surprisingly large amount of gear of all types, more than you would believe possible.

But most of the head injuries, especially the serious ones, that I have personally seen, have been on adults.

But it's very important to distinguish between personal guesses and anecdotal experience, even when they come from people with experience or medical expertise, and studies with more comprehensive statistical data. Guesses and anecdotal experience are very often very different from the statistics. Unfortunately, most of the "experts" who testify before legislative bodies don't worry about the statistics, so something like this bill could easily pass without a suitably careful examination of the data, producing unintended adverse consequences. Instead, the legislature will probably hear testimony from parents whose kids have been seriously injured, and doctors and EMTs who have treated the injured, but who haven't looked at the statistics. They only guess whether a helmet might have helped in those specific cases, and don't consider what other injuries helmets could cause, or how they will affect human behavior.

BTW, here is mention of other studies indicating that helmet use increases injuries - this time in cycling.

Most of us who have skated enough to see many injuries have noticed that most injuries are NOT head injuries. There are a lot more arm, shoulder, hip and back injuries. Some of the most serious and long lasting, for example, occur at the base of the spine, though those are pretty rare.

If legislatures pass laws such as the one under discussion, and don't see injury rates go down dramatically, they may instead try to outlaw figure skating altogether.

There are always attempts to outlaw almost all sports, because sports are intrinsically dangerous. People participate in sports in large part for precisely that reason - it is fun to take risks, and to push your abilities to handle them. Sometimes it is fun to learn how to deal with risk by using better technique, e.g., to learn how to control forces that seemed previously uncontrollable. If you have watched people do high class whitewater boating, climb difficult mountains, ride bikes down steep mountains, or ski on the edges of avalanches they create (you can find Youtube videos of all those - they look fun, if more than a little crazy, and I bet a lot of those of toyed with some of those things, or known and watched people who did), you know what I mean. Sometimes it is fun to skirt the edges of control, or even to lose control. I've never chosen to be drunk or high, but I imagine the feeling is But no matter what people do to regulate risk, human nature is such that we will continue to take risks, including physical risks.

If you outlaw one area of risky human activity, risky behavior just comes back in another.

And if you try to use something like helmets that make people feel more safe, but may be relatively ineffective or might actually do the opposite, that is even more dangerous.

I think I've said enough on this issue. I'm not going to convince those of you who believe that helmets are a great idea. Nor am I going to convince those of you who believe that you can reduce risky human behavior.

Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2015, 03:41:14 PM »
I just want to mention that the most falls are probably due to poorly maintained rental skates. Some rinks probably only sharpen once a year, if that. I've seen rental skates with torn eyelets, broken laces, and wobbly blades.

I figure if you are over the age of 18 and show up w/ your own skates, you should get a 'bye' from the mandatory helmet rule since you are considered experienced enough and with your own equipment to make a decision on your own.

My fear is as I've said above, if the hockey boys are required to wear helmets, they'll be even more dangerous.

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Offline ChristyRN

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2015, 06:41:57 PM »
Wore my Crasche at practice the other day, but only had the 2 rear pads in. I have a large, they need extra large, which is too tight with the other pads and presses on my glasses. I am most worried about backward falls and figure I won't hit my forehead on the ice with a great deal of force if I fall forward, my hands or knees will probably hit first. I wear elbow and knee pads and wrist guards, so one more item isn't too extreme.

The Crasche was unobtrusive, but I did sweat in it a bit. I look a bit like Orville Redenbacher with my hair poking up with it on though.   

Those are pretty much my only complaints: smushing my glasses over the ears and sweating. I can sew, so I'm going to look for wicking or absorbent fabric and make my own bands. I'll copy the holder I have and make more.
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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2015, 06:51:57 PM »
I had the same problem with the Crasche pressing my glasses against my ears.  I'm also not convinced it would do much of anything to reduce concussion risk- there's just not enough padding.  The hard outer layer would help distribute the impact, though, so maybe?  At the moment I've switched over to the Ice Halo HD (higher density high impact foam, thinner than the regular Ice Halo).

Found out that a colleague of mine who's a recreational hockey player (and has a ~9 year old daughter who also plays) has been sending letters in support of the helmet law change.  He's a neurobiologist and very aware of TBI and other risks.  (He was very happy to see me wearing my Ice Halo.)  I told him about some of the issues that have been brought up here.  He had no idea there was no approved helmet for non-hockey skating. When we have a little more time I may sit down and educate him a bit more. I don't think he has any real knowledge of the nuances of figure skating that would make this law a very bad idea as written.

Offline amy1984

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Re: NJ Helmet Law
« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2015, 09:29:57 PM »
I don't think he has any real knowledge of the nuances of figure skating that would make this law a very bad idea as written.

And that's just it, isn't it?  How many people involved in this law DO know the nuances?  I think the 'bad/pro helmet' side is probably well repped - people who've been injured or see the sport as dangerous - but have they talked to the sport in general about how this law would affect them?  Have they even asked what would actually be helpful?

I'm not anti-helmet.  But I want those who need to wear them to be safe.  On a free skate session, I think the disadvantages (hearing, sight, movement) are many while the advantages (less head injuries) are fewer because these are not the people hurting their heads en mass and in my honest opinion, if you're still in the learn to skate stage where a helmet is useful, I don't think you should be on a session with people who are outskating you to the point that they're skating faster than you can get out of their way if you have to.  This isn't a personal slight on anybody.  I certainly watch carefully for low level skaters and I know most do, but I wouldn't call the situation 'safe'.  On busy free skate sessions, if you were to ask skaters what would make the session safer, I doubt helmets would be in the top 5.  I'd probably vote for a smaller amount of skaters allowed on the ice, followed by clear and concise rules (both on who qualifies and also on ice rules).  To be clear, I apply the 'skating level' thing to myself, too.  I wouldn't be comfortable on a high level session and I purposefully don't put myself in that situation.