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Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Liechti B.,ETH Zurich | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Stampfli R.,Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
British Journal of Sports Medicine | Year: 2010

Objective Back protectors for snowboarders were analysed with respect to their potential to prevent spinal injury. Design In 20 Swiss skiing resorts, athletes were interviewed on the slope. In addition, an online survey was conducted. The performance of 12 commercially available back protectors was investigated by means of mechanical testing. A currently used drop test according to standard EN1621 (motorcycle protectors), testing energy damping was supplemented by penetration tests according to standard EN1077, which refl ects snowsport safety concerns. Results 6 out of 12 back protectors fulfi lled the higher safety level defi ned in EN1621. Protectors making use of energy-absorbing layers performed particularly well. In contrast, hard shell protectors exhibited a higher potential to withstand the penetration test. The surveys confi rmed that approximately 40-50% of snowboarders use a back protector. A large majority of users expect protection from severe spinal injury such as vertebral fractures or spinal cord injury. Conclusions The currently used test standards are fulfi lled by many back protectors. Users, however, expect protectors to be effi cient in impact scenarios that result in spinal injury, which are more severe than impacts as addressed in the current standards. This study highlights that there is a mismatch between the capabilities of current back protectors to prevent spinal injury in snowboarding and the expectations users have of these protectors.

Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Staudigl F.,TUV SUD
2011 IRCOBI Conference Proceedings - International Research Council on the Biomechanics of Injury | Year: 2011

Wrist injuries are frequently sustained in snowboarding. To prevent such injuries wrist guards are on the market. However, in contrast to other sports protectors, there is no performance standard available that prescribes any requirements for snowboarding wrist guards. This study investigates whether the standard used for safety gear in roller sports (EN 14120:2007) can also be applied to products for snowboarding. A representative sample of different designs for snowboarding wrist protectors was tested in a similar manner as defined in EN 14120. Damping characteristics of the products were investigated by drop tests, and bending tests were performed analysing the properties with respect to wrist extension. Generally the standard seems to be applicable to snowboarding products. However, some adjustments of the test conditions and the performance requirements seem necessary to account for the application in snow sports. Nonetheless, the introduction of a modified standard appears to be a reasonable undertaking to improve the protective potential of wrist guards.

Greenwald R.M.,Simbex, Llc | Greenwald R.M.,Dartmouth College | Simpson F.H.,Simbex, Llc | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology | Year: 2013

Wrist injuries during snowboarding are very common. An instrumented snowboarding glove was developed to measure flexion/extension of the wrist in the sagittal plane, as well as forces and moments at the hand and wrist joint during snowboarding. On-slope data were analyzed from 128 falls resulting in hand impacts for 20 snowboarders. Impact forces and wrist extension moments varied widely by age, experience level, and fall direction. Backward falls resulted in significantly higher maximum force than forward falls (p = 0.038). Adults had significantly higher maximum force (p = 0.026) and maximum extension moments compared to young adults (p = 0.049). Beginners suffered more impacts that resulted in higher maximum loads generated and wrist angles that did not reach terminal extension. A significant percentage of all falls resulted in wrist extension near terminal extension. This study provides novel hand and wrist biomechanical data in snowboarding falls that can be used to guide the development of wrist protector standards and products. © IMechE 2013.

Siegrist S.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention
Safety Science | Year: 2010

During the last three decades a more rational approach to political decision making has produced an increasing demand for scientific evaluation. A common understanding of evidence-based policy is that any new measures should have been proven to be effective. At best, these kinds of methodologically sound evaluation studies show the effect of a measure in a given situation. The results are then an essential basis for the design of a broader safety policy. However, at present there is generally little understanding of the effect of the measure in another situation, or of how it would interact with other measures in a programme. Yet, it is precisely such questions that need to be answered if the requirements of policy makers are to be met. Politicians need to be able to estimate whether the expected benefits of a programme justify the investment. Therefore, evidence-based road safety policy should not rely solely on evaluation studies of single measures and ex-post assessments of safety programmes. The method outlined here is for the ex-ante estimation of the potential of a road safety programme, which takes into account existing scientific research, an estimate of the degree of implementation that can be expected at a certain point in time, and the interaction between individual measures. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

Schmitt K.-U.,ETH Zurich | Michel F.I.,Bfu Swiss Council for Accident Prevention | Staudigl F.,TUV SUD
ASTM Special Technical Publication | Year: 2012

Although wrist guards are available to prevent the wrist injuries that are frequently sustained in snowboarding, there is no mandated performance standard for these wrist guards as there is for other sports protection equipment. This study investigates whether the standard specified for safety gear in roller sports (EN 14120) can also be applied to snowboarding equipment. Representatives of the different designs of snowboarding wrist protectors available were tested in a manner similar to that defined in EN 14120. The damping characteristics of the products were investigated in drop tests, and wrist extension properties were studied using bending tests. In general the test results indicate that the roller sports standard is also applicable to snowboarding products; however, adjustments to the test conditions and the performance requirements need to be discussed. This relates, first of all, to the damping test conditions, because most products failed the performance criteria. In addition, a higher upper threshold value in the bending test (currently 55°) seems to be more related to falls observed in snowboarding. Furthermore, the influence of test conditions such as the temperature needs to be checked. Nevertheless, the introduction of a modified standard should be a reasonable undertaking to improve the protective potential of wrist guards. Copyright © 2012 by ASTM International.

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