Skidmarks – Whos Got Your Back?

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By Gabe Ets-Hokin

“C’mon baby, let’s do the twist.”
—Hank Ballard and the Midnighters

“Eh,” the trauma surgeon said as he tossed my $200, CE-approved back protector aside like it was a toy, “it probably wouldn’t have done much.”

The question he was answering as I sat in his exam room for a follow-up visit the first time I crushed vertebrae in a motorcycle crash was, “If I had been wearing this back protector, would that have kept me from being injured?” At the time, I had been riding motorcycles for 15 years, and wearing back protectors for at least 10. And it was the first time I asked that question.

If you have a similar relationship with the angel of misfortune that I do, you probably have more than one friend who has suffered a debilitating spinal-cord injury. I hope you don’t have a bigger group of such friends, because it’s pretty frigging big. Way too big. More than one of them have tragically taken their own lives after the injury. The racers were wearing back protectors, so what happened?

The reason is why I quoted Chubby Checker’s hit song. You really don’t want to do the twist, because that’s how most severe spinal-cord injuries, the kind that leave you in a wheelchair, occur. Your tough and bony vertebrae, evolved over hundreds of millions of years, is best for protecting your spinal column against blows or maybe saber-tooth tiger bites. It’s not so good at, say, hitting a Jersey barrier with your shoulder at 40-plus mph, or protecting you when you’re bouncing and flopping around like a rag doll.

ACE Level-2 protector like the Knox Aegis offers a high level of protection from direct blows to a rider’s back, but it wasn’t intended to protect from twisting or hyperextension injuries.

So why wear one at all? Well, it …read more

Source:: Skidmarks – Whos Got Your Back?

      

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