6 Key Facts From the EWS Health Study

Jun 12, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
Bad day for Alex Cure. A crash on stage two took him out of the running.

The EWS has published the largest study into mountain bike injuries ever conducted today and it’s packed with great info about the dangers of the sport we all love.

It’s a two-part study with the Race Event Medical Study taken from medical staff at 10 rounds of the EWS and the Rider Health Survey done via a questionnaire of riders who race at all levels of enduro, with the majority at domestic, amateur levels. It’s a pretty hefty document so we’ve picked out the six key stats you should be aware of:


1. Most injuries happen outside of racing

A hand in a bag of ice sums up Mark Scott s birthday today

In the Rider Health Survey, of the 1234 injuries that were recorded, 823 (66.7%) were sustained during training, with the rest during race practice or racing itself. Of course, riders spend a lot more time training than racing so you may expect this but it does highlight the need for greater First Aid skills among riders. After all, you’re twice as likely to get injured at the times when there are no trained medical staff on hand to help.


2. Women get hurt more, but men get hurt worse in the EWS

Thin was the section where lots of riders came undone including Caro Gehrig who was just seconds off the podium.

In the EWS, about 12% of women picked up an injury compared to around 9% of men. However, when men crashed, they generally got injured more severely, with an average of 13.2 days recovery time which is more than double the 6.4 days for women.

This holds true for the Rider Health Survey too where 55% of women recorded an injury at some point while riding compared to just over 40% of men.

At this point, we should point out that women represented about 10% of the contributors to both studies so the men’s stats are far more likely to be accurate.


3. Shoulders and Collarbones are the most commonly injured body parts

Mckay Vezina ices a sore shoulder after a massive crash in practice.

It comes as very little surprise but shoulders and collarbones are the most commonly injured body part in mountain biking. In EWS races 13.3% of all injuries are to this part of the body. Shoulder and clavicle injuries also required the greatest number of days to recover from - 49.2 days being the mean recovery time.

In the Rider Health Survey, shoulders and clavicle injuries were also very common, accounting for a quarter of all significant injuries.


4. We could still improve on how we deal with concussions

Not the happiest of Birthdays for Mark Scott on stage 1

Overall concussion rates were low both in the EWS study (0.6%) and the Rider Survey (4%), however, we could still improve how we deal in the aftermath of concussions. In the EWS race study, 58% of riders did not follow SCAT-5 protocol and nearly a third of riders (29%) returned to racing after a concussion.

In the Rider Health Study, 25% of riders continued riding after a concussion, 74% of riders said they had not heard of the SCAT concussion assessment, and 63% of riders said they did not follow a return to play (riding) protocol post-concussion. Female riders were three times more likely to suffer a concussion than men. You can read the Concussion Pocket Guide that the EWS provides riders here and the Concussion Pocket Guide that the EWS provides for Organisers and Medics here.


5. Rocky trails produce the most injuries

A busted hand made things tough out there for Shawn Neer.

Rocky trails accounted for 60% of all injuries in the EWS, on top of this, 56% shoulder/clavicle and 66% of hand fractures, occurred during falls, on rocky stages. The survey recommends that riders wear more protection on rocky stages and that additional medical provision should be targeted around rocky stages by race organisers.


6. Enduro is actually quite safe

Richie Rude bleeding for his first win since Whistler in 2016.

If all the above feels a bit doom and gloom, don’t worry, enduro is actually quite safe. In the EWS medical study, only 8.9% of EWS riders were injured during races. This compares to 24% in mountain biking during the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games. The EWS is most dangerous for first timers, as almost a third of race event injuries occurred to riders who have only raced one EWS.

The Rider Health Survey calculated that there are 0.15 significant injuries per rider per year, meaning a rider picks up a significant injury roughly every seven years. Another comparison given in the study is from rugby, a sport that has previously reported 1.8 injuries per player per season.


194 Comments

  • + 106
 Two things have helped (knock on wood) me avoid many injuries from crashing over my 30 plus years of riding and this may sound odd, but Judo and Gymnastics as a kid.

In judo the first thing you are taught is how to fall when thrown, and gymnastics gives you spacial awareness and the ability to roll out of most crashes.
  • + 8
 Man, I must tell you there’s so much to it that I am considering to start training falling on soft rubber playground. I just had enough of stupid crashes where I went over the bars during a stall and landed on my arms. I am tired of dislocating my fingers in situations where it was obvious I could tuck and roll.
  • + 17
 Judo has helped me roll through a lot of otherwise nasty OTBs. I'm always blown away when you see people with their head up looking at what they're going to smash their face into.
  • + 3
 I remember reading how Eric Carter took up gymnastics to learn to l how to fall. That's the plan for my kids! Judo sounds like a good option too!
  • + 9
 Same here with Jiu Jitsu! When I was instructing beginner riders, the first thing my riders did before even getting on their bikes for a session was practicing "crashing" by doing various rolls - all inspired by my jiu jitsu instruction.
  • + 3
 I have had similar thought throughout the years. But for me it was playing ball sports, particularly football, that taught me how to fall and roll once hitting the ground. But now at 40, I join my kids on their trampoline and practice throwing myself to the mat repeatedly.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Parkour training is trendy now, that would also be great for crashing!
  • + 3
 @ratedgg13: the problem is most BJJ gyms spend 90% of their time teaching guard and other groundwork, and 10% (or even less) starting from feet, so very little falling and throwing practice.
  • + 3
 Its a lot different falling without a bike so that judo link is a little weak but knowing how to crash is very important. I'm glad my parents allowed us to get into many questionable situations when we were younger and able to recover quickly.

Shoulder/collarbone study, that seems legit. I've busted my right collarbone twice and dislocated my left shoulder 200+ times resulting in two surgeries, with the second surgery consisting of taking bone from my calcified right collarbone and using that to rebuild the socket.

MTBing is awesome.
  • + 6
 I did judo as a kid too and I've never had a bad injury falling off my bike. I'd often just roll out of a crash and think, phew that was lucky! Until it happened over and over again and made me think.
  • - 8
flag Bomadics (Jun 12, 2019 at 11:11) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: I have had zero hospital visits due to Mountain Biking, lets compare that to your record. Do you still think the Judo link is weak?
  • + 3
 That doesn't sound weird at all.

I also did gymnastics as a kid for a bit (only a year or two though), and instead of Judo, I played soccer, and a few other sports. I really think almost any of those types of sports will do a lot to help you learn to get thrown to the ground. Heck, or even just having rambunctious enough friends, we were always wrestling/throwing each other around.

Whatever it was, glad to see its paying dividends now Smile .
  • + 2
 I am just wondering... Judo and Mallets. How to...
  • - 17
flag BIKE-TROLL (Jun 12, 2019 at 11:18) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: Don't give this guy any sympathy, he's a troll.

#gargleonmynuts
  • + 6
 I'd like to add that I feel some goal keeping (in soccer) also helps to learn to aim for a safe spot to land and roll out on. So yeah, gymnastics for orientation/awareness. Judo for absorbing/deflecting impact and goal keeping for intentionally aiming for a safe crash zone.

That said, there are always times when you're not prepared and/or focused and that's when the injuries happen. These EWS athletes ride long and intense days. It is hard to stay as prepared for that long. It goes a long way to learn from your crashes and one thing I learned is that most injuries don't happen in the trickiest and new places, but those when I just practiced something difficult and when I hit something much easier on the way home, I'm often not that focused and that's when I crash.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: Oh really? Thats very disappointing. When I was training, we weren't even allowed to start groundwork until we showed that we knew how to fall (and get back up...). I guess I was lucky in where I trained.
  • + 4
 @Bomadics: Yeah, your point is still pretty idiotic.

"I never been to hospital because of bike crash and I eat McDonalds everyday. Dat must meen McDonalds makes me invincible while biking!"
  • + 6
 That and soccer. All that diving really taught me to roll well.
  • + 39
 I agree... I feel like karate has helped me a lot. Instead of falling into something I just roundhouse kick the shit out of it
  • + 3
 Taking my finger off the front brake in Rock gardens have helped me...
  • + 3
 same here with skateboarding! jumps, crashes and body awereness college
  • + 3
 +1 went for 2 years to offseason snowboard school where we had to fall and roll in different ways, now it is second nature to roll on crashes avoiding putting out hands in weird orientation
  • + 28
 This is kind of funny that all the comments above are about how to avoid injury and fall correctly. This only goes so far if you are pushing the boundaries. Crashes happen so fast your brain has milliseconds to figure out what do. Basically it comes down to instinct. Then whether or not you can execute what your brain is telling you to do is a whole other subject. All of these pros are trained and I'd be willing to bet, know "how" to crash. But they still got injured. No amount of training can keep you from avoiding the unexpected.

I'm all for teaching gymnastics, Judo, Aikido etc from a youg age. I played all the sports and did Aikido. Yes it really did help if you can apply some of what you learned.

My resume is strong in the injuries department, so I feel pretty qualified to talk about the subject (you Dr.'s out there, you're welcome for the Porsche's and Yeti's......I kid). I've had very serious injuries that maybe I could have avoided (sure if I didn't take the risk in the first place), but most of them there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the outcome of a situation.

You can't tuck and roll out of a rock garden. Limbs get tangled in bike frames, trees, whatever. Sharp pieces on bikes make for great makeshift razor blades. I've tuck and rolled after getting pitched to avoid any injury from the feature I went down on, just to smash into something else on the way. It happens.

It's part of the sport if we choose to push our own personal boundaries, we accept those risks. They can be minimized, but they won't be eliminated.
  • + 6
 @scott-townes: re "that judo link"...
For what it's worth: I came off my motorbike twice.
- Once was a catapulted HIGH OTB. Came down into one clean roll, back to my feet. No injury.
- Once was a violent skid out on a corner. Thrown more horizontally at about 50mph. Body went into automatic... tucked and went into a series of bouncing rolls down the road. I didn't know the human body could bounce like that! Just a little bit of bruising and scraping on one shoulder.
In my case, it was years of Aikido... but same thing.

HOWEVER, I have been injuried more seriously in two mtb crashes... at much lower speed. One was six broken ribs and a punctured lung! Weird. I wonder at the difference. I think it happens so quickly -- that I was in the ground so fast -- that there was no time to roll.

Yes, MTBing is awesome. Smile
  • + 0
 I was thinking the other day watching some of these riders going OTB that they they should do some sessions in judo to learn to roll. 20 years of it prevented many injuries for me.
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: Dude, you have just signed your own appointment to the Emergency Room.
  • + 0
 @scott-townes: You clearly don't understand anything about judo, so calling me idiotic merely betrays the type of person you choose to be.
  • + 1
 same thing for me but it was skateboarding that taught me to fall - you have to know how to collapse and roll or you are going to be too hurt to skate after hitting a decent sized gap a couple times. the perfect storm for disaster has always been when i go ride bikes with someone who is in incredible physical shape, is super confident, and has no falling skills. even typing that sentence out gives me flashbacks of buff new guys going over the bars with arms completely extended and elbows locked out, ready to scorpion.
  • + 1
 @Davec85: No, I have been injured mountain biking many times, and have crashed more times than I would like to count, I am just a conservative rider and don't take a lot of chances. I have been riding off road for 45 years, and downhill skiing for 51 years, I know how to manage my own risk very well.
  • + 4
 @Bomadics: My boy takes Ninja classes"dont tell him it is gymnastics" they practice some jiu jitsu, parkour and "ninja" as well as the fun parts of gymnastics, trampolines, springboards, rings and bars.

Loves it.
  • + 2
 @fabwizard: That's great anything that works and keeps them busy, I think overall parkour would be very good for falling experience as they roll out of so may moves.

My Mom had to bribe me to take Gymnastics, I ended up going to our local Provincial Winter games at 13, I didn't do well as I had only been training for 6 months but it was a great experience and it has benefited me in every single sport I do to this day 40 years later.

And without a doubt has enabled me to reduce my injuries.
  • - 2
 @Bomadics: You knowing a lot about judo makes it all the more baffling as to why you think its similar to falling on a MTB. Based on your previous response of never being injured while riding, I only have to assume you are Adam Warlock and have never once fallen whilest riding.

I need proof. Show me video of you being taken down in a spar while moving 15 mph through a gnarly rock garden.
  • - 1
 @scott-townes: your argumentation is rather rubbish, but anyway. judo gives incredible body awareness, as well as overall fitness and strength. These things are transferable between sports. You train almost every muscle in the body. You learn to tolerate impact and not to stick your arm out when falling. When dismounting, you instinctively roll out, instead of face planting. Will this happen over night? No, of course not. But several years of it might. Is it 100%? No, as I experienced myself when I broke a vertebra.
  • + 6
 What helps me is being snail slow.
  • + 2
 Same for me, except with a mixture of 6 martial arts. Any time I start to go OTB I instantly go into shoulder roll mode. Saved myself many times
  • + 2
 @scott-townes: You don't read very well do you, I did not say, if you read above, that I was never injured when riding, I said no HOSPITAL visits from mountain biking.

I have had many injuries all self treated and nothing except a neck strain that kept me off the bike for more than a week. The neck injury was three weeks off the bike, and they named the rock on the trail in Banff after my neck, and the rock above my "Neck Rock" was named "Femur Rock" which is self explanatory.

I am not the best rider around by a long shot, I am VERY conservative if you look at how I ride compared to how long I have ridden a bike. But I also have a very low injury rate for the amount of time on a bike and skis, and gentle sports like rugby, where I had most of the injuries I sustained, but again, 5 years of Rugby and no hospital visits.

All I am saying that gymnastics and Judo benefited me, and obviously some others. in reducing injury rates will doing extreme sports, because being able to fall well is a skill, not luck. I have some old VHS footage of me falling if you like, but it's from when you were just wee tyke back in the 90's.
  • + 1
 @panzer103: Me too! High five!
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: martial arts is not just sparring. I used to have awful reflexes, now I shock myself with how fast my reflexes are, and in non-combat circumstances I might. Yes, martial arts teach self defense, but they also improves everything else.
  • + 4
 I’m a lifetime skater who got addicted to mtb about 7 years ago. 30 years of skating(falling many many times every day) definitely trains your body how to not get injured. I crash a lot cuz I’m basically a hack that likes to huck and go fast and I’ve only got a few sprained ankles, wrists, and several lacerations out of it all. There definitely something valid in learning how to fall.
  • + 1
 @scjeremy: Well said!
  • - 4
flag scott-townes (Jun 12, 2019 at 15:14) (Below Threshold)
 @Bomadics: "BRO I DIDN'T SAY I NEVER GOT INJURED, I JUST SELF TREAT!" lol wtf
  • - 1
 @scott-townes: grow up and quit yelling, I am not your brother. Go back and read my post, or are you the type go to the hospital every time you get a scratch? You probably have excellent insurance and receive hospitalisation for being dehydrated.
  • - 1
 @Bomadics: You don't know how quotes work and you think people only go to the hospital for scratches. lol what world do you live on?
  • + 1
 Completely agree. For me it was a childhood of backyard football and 'kill the man'. I definitely learned how to land and protect body parts.
  • - 2
 @scott-townes: Enlighten us with your brilliance, what exactly you you mean on how quotes work? Here is your chance to make me look stupid.
  • - 1
 @scott-townes: You have to start reading AND understanding post before you comment, you are not making any sense and you have clearly not read OR understood my posts.
  • + 1
 @bomadics so you havent pushed hard enough to hit a tree over 30mph yet? That'd make three things... lol! all4fun!
  • - 2
 @Grosey: I have raced downhill, both skiing and biking. I ride the trails Steve Smith, Mark Wallace and Finn Iles trained on, not as fast obviously but I am no slouch.

What I do that you don't seem to be doing is avoiding the trees, they are not supposed to be struck they don't like it when you hit them. I did pull a hamstring on Prevost once sliding into a tree, just a slow speed off due to muddy conditions , but I apologised to the tree and it never happened again!
  • + 2
 I'm not the gnarliest dude out on the trail, but I ride within my limits and rarely crash.
  • + 2
 What helps me is riding road on a mountain bike Wink
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: That's quite an impressice record Wink How much did it all cost in the US?
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: High Five bro!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Heavy bag training helps as well, Elbows, knees, punches... the blows build up your skeleton... I think Steve Peat did kick boxing... This stuff probably helps too www.youtube.com/watch?v=poN-ExZRQxw
  • + 1
 Yup. But I learned all my tumbling via a BMX bike...
  • + 1
 @krashDH85: I agree 100% sometimes I tuck and roll just fine other times it happens so fast I smash into the ground.
When you are really going fast nothing will save you. Maybe the guys who never get hurt ride the brakes too much.
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: it may be different but it doesn't mean it won't translate. I had a sensei who was taught to roll out of throws on concrete....his sensei told him that the hardness will round of the corners of his roll. In other words, be afraid and you'll stiffen up and the surface will teach you to soften the blow.
  • + 2
 @Heydre: Luxury! My sensei was taught to roll on broken glass and his sensei would come and make him drink poison in the lake!
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: They feed you at work?
  • + 2
 Same here on Judo, though I have to say that the effect vanishes after more than a decade not practicing Judo. Still not bad but one broken collarbone showed me I am not invincible anymore Wink
  • + 1
 @Bomadics: Those who know, just know. I’m sure a wise sensei once said, “You must train before entering into battle with the ground.” lol

Doing ten years of karate as a kid gave me incredible control over my movement and this definitely translates into high performance in a number of sports. Doing a 360 degree jumping spinning kick from standing is pretty damn hard. Anything that expands the range of movements available to you to help avoid injury during a crash is good news.

With the gymnastics link just look at at Nicholi Rogatkin! I’m sure lots of you guys have seen him take some huge spills and not break a bone.
  • + 1
 There is probably an optimum. If soft conditions teach you to get away with bad skill you may not learn much. But if a single poor attempt implies that you're out for a good while, you won't be developing many reflexes either. Sure Darwinism will allow the true talents (and those who never venture outside and stay on their couches) to shine within maybe only a few generations, but if this one life is all you've got it may not be the best approach to get any better. Be prepared up to a certain level, leave the hardest bit where you're likely to not come unscatched for when it really matters. Top athletes don't set track records during their training sessions either. They won't even try to. So yeah, you may need to practice rolling out over broken glass but only if you want to prepare for something considerably harsher.

That said, one thing i haven't seen mentioned here is, actively use your protective pads when you need to. We already wear them passively. That is, they protect us when we happen to land on one of these vulnerable spots. It is just that with proper padding, they suddenly become some of the least vulnerable spots. As adults we usually don't like to land hard on our knees. Though with padding, skaters intentionally bail and slide on them when they need to. So if you consistently wear elbow and forearm protection, you can intentionally use them to start absorbing an impact whereas if you don't have them, you may rather roll straight over the shoulder and back. So you could extend your "bumper" this way but for this to be a reflex, you need to be able to rely on them that they're there. Most people don't use them sufficiently consistent to develop that. But for kneepads indeed it does work. I'm quite sure I'd quickly destroy my knees if I'd ride the pumptrack without kneepads!
  • + 3
 I got my black belt back in 2002. Judo Ukemi (from throwing) is not the most ideal way to land a crash but if you take the Ukemi rolling practices and keep arms "inside the vehicle" you can get away with many crashes. Most of my crashes that injured me have happened in a way that I was not able to do anything. When the grip goes in high speed, I've been on my face on the ground and could not react. It really depends on what is the situation. I think that the best "shield" for injuries is good strength in muscles combined with good motoric skills.

Here is me taking my son to Judo last fathers day. www.instagram.com/p/BqCqxZ1lO6u/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
  • + 1
 Agreed. I did Judo when I was 10 for only 1 year and that first year literally taught me to fall correctly and use body weight to my advantage. I also did gymnastics as that sort of age too, which certainly helped with balance (I used to be a trials rider way back). I totally put down my lack of major injuries to these younger experiences.
  • + 1
 @MichaelLinehan: Yep agreed sometimes there is no time to react. I hit a tree with handlebar after foot already hit a small grass tree (it's Australian) bike pivoted and just dumped me on the trail, didn't even get my arm out in front of me. Chest straight onto a rock broken ribs and punctured lung.

MTB is awesome broken ribs is no fun!
  • + 1
 That is all fine and dandy, until you land on a rock or tree, sometimes the roll into an obstacle generates more oompf.
  • + 1
 @cassiusclaim: rollerblading for me! Skated all through the 90's and 00's, and even though I don't skate anymore the body still remembers how to roll with a fall.

It needs to be said though, sometimes you can't avoid it - I crashed big time in 2016 and was on the ground with a broken wrist and broken back before I knew wtf was going on lol.
  • + 1
 @Bozeman10: That’s real tho. You go down fully pinned in some steep tech and your going to need Jedi night skills to avoid an injury.
  • + 2
 I would start with something even more important than any of those thing I saw mentioned. Flexibility. That is the biggest thing you can do to help save you from injury.
  • + 1
 @mfoga: you are correct sir, probably the easiest and least utilized way to reduce injury!
  • + 0
 @mfoga: true dat. I know people who can barely put their hands below the knees, cannot grab their hands behind their back and train shtloads of everything. The problem is what they get prescribed is Yoga and good luck putting your palms on the floor (which is about the “appropriate” movement range) with static stretching alone if you are 40 or more. Good fricking luck. I have a limited mobility in my wrists, can barely put my palms 90deg up and my fingers know that more than well...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: The more you stretch the better it gets. Stretching is so important especially for us 'older' people.
  • + 1
 @m1dg3t: yes static stretching is a good compliment to squats, various kinds of deadlifts and chinbar exercises.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Squats are very important! I take 2 every morning...

HaHa. Ha.
  • + 1
 @m1dg3t: it is good to check functional movement screening and make sure you are close to their ranges. They reflect “healthy” ranges, too much isn’t good either but that happens so rarely, few need to be bothered with that
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Yoga helps prevent injury and also speeds up recovery. Its like judo and gymnastics combined.
  • + 1
 @dirtnapped: good idea. i have attributed walking away from lots of crashes to the rolling and breaking falls without hitting head skills i learned as a judo white belt!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Obviously hyper extending or over stressing the joints/soft tissues is not the goal. I incorporated resistance bands into my stretching where I could as well to help strengthen the joints/soft tissues.
  • + 1
 Agree Wholeheartedly. I did Judo for 5 years from the age of 8 to 13 and every session started with 5 minutes of tuck and roll. I got to the point playing multiple sports as a young man, soccer, rugby etc where I would instinctively roll out of a fall or contact, sometimes to the amusement of onlookers. I have absolutely no doubt this has saved me from more serious injury on occasions, I have found myself on the ground bolt upright having rolled out of a crash without having the time to think about it. Equally I have absolutely no doubt that when I've hit trees, it didn't do a lot to stop me hurting myself.
  • + 1
 DELETED
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Luxury! My sensei was taught to roll on broken glass and his sensei would come and make him drink poison in the lake!

Typical dickishness from someone who acts like they're a sensei of all things life.

Here's something else for you to add your halfpenny to....I used to ride a bike to my two jobs every day and I'd had enough interactions with careless drivers to consider how to deal with the next one. I wanted to practice doing an OTB roll from concrete onto grass but could never muster the courage to do it but I'd rehearsed it in my head every time I'd avoided another idiot.

Well, that day comes and I was in the bike lane humming along and a car in front of me decides to make almost a U-turn onto a side street that it had mostly passed on its right. I saw it coming and I must have panic braked on the front and held it as my back tire began to rise up as I tried to get my weight over the back wheel and the side of the car neared.

Eventually I went over the bars jamming a shin into one of my pedals and I tucked as I hit the pavement and rolled out with both of my feet thumping against his doors. I heard some kid on the corner say, "Whoooaaa" and then I proceeded to vent my anger at the driver. Visualization definitely helped...
  • + 77
 The thing that stopped me from getting injured in an EWS was being too shit to qualify. Long may it last!
  • + 47
 I also have this natural body MIPS layer, called FAT. It works wonders at absorbing impacts, disappointing energy and distributing impacts across more of my body. All it requires is increasing the amount of beer, pizza and donuts in your diet! I would highly recommend this technology to all casual riders.
  • + 10
 @ratedgg13: FAT. Fortifying Adipose Tissue technology
  • + 2
 the real gold nuggets in the comment section are here. @WAKIdesigns , ca we get an article about the benefits of this new FAT technology?
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: I work with PHAT - Protective Hops Activated Tissue.
  • + 2
 indeed he could start here: i was reading about this FAT and L.A.Z.Y tech that could be the way forward on this issue of industry.

If u take FAT with its inherent variable input adjust system, known in various industry circles as morePIE (TM) we have the ability to increase protection and decrease EWS qualification probability. In addition, morePIE can be substituted for moreANYSHIT (inexcess off industry recommendations).

However, FAT plus L.A.Z.Y technology is where the true performance disadvantage is to be gained. L.A.Z.Y (low arrousal zero psYche) technology has a synergistic relationship to its counterpart FAT. However, both can be used individually. Note: Industry research recommends a combined approach for worth EWS results.

The is also a rumour of f*cktech in development that creates a truly self sustaining symbiosis. f*cktech can be used as an additional suppliment as follows:

FAT L.AZ.Y f*ck or as L.A.Z.Y FAT f*ck.

Attention: the industry does not condone the following combination: f*ck L.A.Z.Y FAT as this is known to cause self-esteem reductions in most non nationallies sampled (excluding Trump supporters), potentially leading to a decrease in consumption of morePIE and moreANYSHIT. This maybe lead to a significant increase in the users EWS qualification potential and subsequent and associated increased injured probability.
  • + 43
 what % of men had their ego hurt?
  • + 3
 All.
  • + 24
 Ego injuries occur 60% of the time, every time.
  • + 2
 Depends. Do they ride for FMB or not?
  • + 2
 It doesn't even need a crash to get our ego hurt
  • + 38
 "This compares to 24% in mountain biking during the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games" - WTF was going on at the Rio Olympics?
  • + 81
 Probably mugged on the way back to the hotel.
  • + 6
 Combination of things. The course had issues and you get a very wide range of abilities at Olympic events. Lots of riders who've not got a lot of any experience at that level are able to qualify. Nearly a quarter of riders injured seems rather insane though.
  • + 1
 My thought exactly!
  • + 2
 90% of the injuries were bruised egos.
  • + 10
 They counted spandex chafing.
  • + 1
 Perhaps minor cuts or bruises. Tho if you look at an average WC XC race you see a lot of bloody faces and legs.
  • + 1
 @vid1998: Regular pedals just cut your shins. Those clip in pedals grab your skin and rip it until you twist the hanging flaps of skin 5deg in the right direction. If you don't, you'll bleed to death unless a heroic fan chases you (Olympic XC racers don't just stop riding) whilst pissing over the open wound. Because of the high temperatures in Rio, people were sweating too much hence pissing too little. They've learned from this though and are already stocking up for 2020.
  • + 3
 Dirt roadies
  • + 1
 @dthomp325: kkkkkkk sad truth
  • + 15
 This just in: Rocks hurt!

More at 11.

In seriousness though, this is great info for a relatively new rider like myself.

Because I have a day job to get back each Monday, and a wife/kids relying on me, I wear a full face helmet most rides. I also wear knee/elbow pads and gloves every ride. But now reading that shoulder/collarbone issues are the most common injury, now I'm curious if anything exists that can help reduce/prevent those types of injuries. Anyone know of any good options?
  • - 9
flag gabrielastin (Jun 12, 2019 at 10:55) (Below Threshold)
 Shoulders/Collar bones are probably the most common injury due to people riding them unprotected, unlike knees which are always covered with pads etc. Not many people wear full body armour, especially people at EWS level.

If you're really worried you can invest in a pressure suit as they don't limit movement much and give a bit more protection to impacts. You risk looking like Arnie though.

In my experience don't get a neck brace as they make collar bone breakages worse/more likely.
  • + 17
 I don't think so. Collarbone breaks, shoulder dislocations, shoulder tears are usually caused by forces pulling or pushing on the arm rather than direct contact with the shoulder itself.
  • + 8
 @gabrielastin: With shoulders, you may be onto something. But collar bone breaks tend to be from the force of the fall being transferred to the clavicle and snapping it rather than direct impact to that bone. Shoulder pads might help distribute some of that impact, though.
  • + 2
 @gabrielastin: yeah protection and collarbone injuries - are you sure you are not concussed? Well collarbones get injured not because they get hit but because people fall on their arms and shoulders and bone gets compressed and either breaks (lucky) or gets dislocated (quite often - much worse scenario). Shoulders pop out whether you have your best body armor or not. Learn to tuck and roll.

@MarcusBrody the most common serious shoulder injury is dislocation. No body armor can help with that. It may eventually protect your deltoid from getting too sore, at best save you some inflammation and bursitis, but in most cases it just protects your tattoo from getting ripped.
  • + 3
 @gabrielastin: Lack of protection meaning there's literally no product on the market that reduces/prevents the forces that cause dislocations/collarbone breaks.
  • + 14
 Get strong, crash smart. Know your limits.

Shoulder pads could help. But then you're basically riding in full DH gear on trail rides. There are times to take risks and times not to. If you’re in a position where you can’t get hurt because of work/family the best protection is to ride within your limits and not crash.

Sometimes, easier said than done...
  • + 5
 @gabrielastin: There is a bit more to it. The force that is big enough to break a collarbone and more importantly the direction it is acting in may esily overcome the protection of a body armor. I do use one, however in my opinion it protects against bruises and hard hits (hematomas) and not so much possible breaks.
  • + 0
 @gabrielastin: Body armour does not really protect against collar bone breaks?
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Jun 12, 2019 at 11:25) (Below Threshold)
 @pioterski: to add to that, neck braces are said to increase the likelihood of breaking the collarbone in a crash
  • + 2
 @MarcusBrody:

Yeah, from what I can tell so far, it looks like most breaks are just from shoulder compression, not from direct impact to the collarbone.

Not really sure what sort of protection could help with that, that wouldn't also severely limit mobility (like a rigid support or something).

Guess thats why its so common of an area to injure then :/.
  • + 6
 @ocnlogan: the only thing that can help you to minimize the chance of upper body injury is:

1.Learning how to assess your own skill as well as Risk vs Reward
2. Ability to clear mind
3. Practice, learn to ride. Jumping in particular. Go to the dirt site or build one and practice. A friend just broke a vertebrae in his back, a collarbone and some ribs off a stupid, small bike park jump, after riding a whole day of sketchy singletrack... practice!
4. Beef up - work out. Added muscle mass will inevitably increase joint resilience.
5. Learn to tuck and roll.
  • + 2
 Stay on your bike Logan!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns:

Sweet, I'm doing all of those Smile .

I grew up riding dirt bikes but it was all trail riding, not motocross, so I'm not a great jumper. I'm really comfortable with line choice, and most natural style features though. That background has kept me out of the dirt so far.

Because I know jumps are my weak point, I've been hitting beginner/intermediate jump trails as often as I can (there is a local dirt jumps, and I can do the kiddie ones Razz , and am building a small jump in the backyard right now)).

I also worked out pretty heavily in college, and have managed to fight off "Dad-bod" since then by playing sports, pushups, cycling, etc. But just in the last 2 months I've started picking up the weights again. I'm not to where I once was, but still seeing improvements.

Anyway, glad to see I'm doing what I can to prevent injury, yet still have fun Smile .
  • - 3
 @ocnlogan: build two rollers like on the pumptrack and try to clear them with as little speed as possible. Better than the table top and forces good technique with minimal risk of injury. Use BMX racers as role models, they do insane stuff out of little speed or stay low at giant jumps at insane speeds.

What did it for me as a dad was acknowledging that I am a dad but then being able to leave family and work at the trail head, and focus on the task at hand. Too many people are emancipating carefulness as if it was some sort of virtue. Some even brag about how careful they are because they have a company to run or family to get back to. Trail doesn’t give a flying damn about out values. Zero. Nobody really does, there will never be any credit for: I better take this section easy. Guess what you can take it easy and eat crap because you are on brakes more than normal and don’t allow your wheels to roll. Carefulness is the best way to get hurt. Leave it at home. If I decide to hit the park or trails, then I set the bar before getting there. I cannot ride with lowered confidence, can’t. Carefulness is like an antivirus software, interfering with operating system.
  • + 1
 stay away from whitewater kayaking...
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: True that. Yet, if the neck brace does its job, it seems reasonable to have a broken collarbone instead of one's neck.
All in all neck braces are a very interesting part of protection gear. Almost no scientific/medical research on their effectiveness (or kept secret by the likes of Leatt), but the way they are designed sort of implies they should prevent serious neck injury.
  • + 1
 build up strength and mass in your upper body muscles, MAY help absorb the force if you land on your arms. Pecs, traps, delts, triceps. Wearable armor wont really help.
  • + 2
 I wear a shirt like this for 7 years - cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1202/5018/products/2300940001_36274_tif_zoom_2.jpg?v=1485772184

It has elbow and shoulder D3O protectors which are soft and harden only on impact. It does not hinder any movement, is light and just makes it a little hotter. It saved me from a lot of injuries. When I broke my collar bone the impact was on my shoulder only but the shoulder did not even get soared because of the protector. Yes, there is nothing to save you from breaking the clavicle but you can protect your shoulders and elbows.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Lies! I just buy better bike. With more suspension. Better suspension! And carbon wheels. Gotta be carbon. 30mm id though! Not something spindly like 25mm id. The loudest hubs available. With WT DD tires. Anything less than 2.5 is for gravel grinders. Wankers. 8 piston brakes with 300mm rotors. A 250mm dropper and don't forget an 820mm wide bar and 30mm stem. Also, the Titanium crank and flat pedals with leather straps. Did I mention it's polished carbon frame? Come at me bro!

Invincible!

LoL
  • + 3
 @pioterski: there was a study done in January this year on nearly 100,000 Motocross accidents that seemed to indicate pretty strongly that neck braces are a good idea.
  • + 2
 @pioterski: sorry, i can't edit my comment on my phone but here's a link:
www.revzilla.com/common-tread/ask-the-doc-do-neck-braces-reduce-injuries
  • + 1
 @gabrielastin: I would die from heat exhaustion in full body armor
  • + 1
 @m1dg3t: A better bike does help so does better brakes and dialed in suspension. Sometimes when we trade bikes and i'm getting bounced all over the trail with spongy brakes I think how do they make do the trail alive.
  • - 1
 @KxPop: Motorcycle helmets are a lot heavier than MTB helmets and the jumps for the average MX riders are a lot bigger than the average MTB rider.
Plus you have lots of weight and power on a dirt bike.
I'm not against neck braces but the sports are a lot different and so is the gear.
  • + 1
 @Bozeman10: I'm not really sure what all of that has anything to do with whether or not a neck brace will help you? At the end of the day, it's the same piece of equipment on both kinds of riders; it's not like it works differently for one rider than the other. As a rider who rides with a neck brace when at bike parks, I wouldn't ride without it on purpose. I once face-planted so hard that I cracked my helmet in half (practically, it was being held together only by the liner) and I lost at least an hour of memory. My neck was sore and stiff for half a year after that. I don't have to be a scientist or doctor to know that I would have been in a much sorrier state if I weren't wearing my neck brace.
  • + 1
 @KxPop: except there’s no proof it works and a few doctors expressed their worry whether it does more good than harm or the other way around. They were talking about neckbrace increasing the loads lower down the spine, increasing the likelihood of injury there. So neck brace greatly decreases chance of becoming a quadripelgic and increases the chance of becoming parapelgic which is a mote common injury already. Don’t have time to google it. You can if you actually care.

There is definitely a portion of folks who are skeptical and try to find an echo chamber that will support their side of argument whatever that is, we ALL have our biases. Especially folks who crashed hard and claim that this and that saved them. Please be mindful of that. But the fact that they popped up almost everywhere in BMX, DH and MX and then disappeared says a thing or two. And I remember some Supercross team manager having an open statement where he encouraged everyone to wear them, following a few ex racers encouraging people to do the same, including a parapelgic ex racer. A few of my friends had them and don’t ride in them anymore as they were limiting the movement of the head too much. They all mention the same situation of riding a steep into a catch berm and not being able to turn the head for the exit. They also mentioned occasions where they crashes because of that. Including the “modern” version with more cut out in the rear. Just because something makes sense, doesn’t mean it actually works in reality.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Did you see the study I linked earlier?
  • + 1
 @Bozeman10: In the end a better bike probably doesn't help at all.
A better bike makes you go faster, so you might crash less frequently but your crashes will be harder.
  • + 1
 @KxPop: yes I read it and I am happy to take it on board like other article I read in similar a bit over the top tone. And it hasn’t adressed exactly what I said that I read long time ago. Thoracic spine. I honestly have no time looking for it. He takes exactly what they criticized, a physician looking at one part of the body, looking at a solution and presenting data. Any panel reviewing this article with scientific method would look at this article and say cool as long as his question was: “does neck brace decrease the chance of breaking your neck” but if they asked “does it decrease the chance of you ending up on a wheelchair” they would want more data. I DO NOT DISENCOURAGE people from wearing braces. Do whatever the hell you want, especially if it makes you more confident while riding, which means you have much smaller chance to crash. That is THE most important thing. Doubt and panic has sent more people to hospital than anything.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Hi Waki, I think you need to look at the source data behind RevZilla's "review" of the study. The article specifically addresses this misconception:
www.actionsportsems.com/case-study-neck-brace
Edit: Hm. Reading this article again, it does talk about it as a misconception but does not specifically provide statistics on spinal injuries below the cervical area. Still, it would be hard to imagine that an action sport paramedic service that has serviced so many injuries wouldn't make note of it if that was actually the case. I think the key takeaway is that you're much better off with one than without one.
By the way, the complaints about restricted head movement... I've never had issues moving my head in a normal range. I think people who complain about that have ill-fitting neck braces. The only times I've had a complaint about head movement with my neck brace was when I was climbing for prolonged periods of time. I can't stand climbing with a neck brace on.
  • + 1
 @KxPop: I am perfectly happy to get that on board. I am not a denier. Thanks for the link and I will look into it.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: In any case, I've submitted a query to the Action Sports EMS team to clarify this question Smile
Hopefully, they publish further data about what they've seen to allay further concern.
Oh, I did notice one chart here showed Spinal Immobilisation was WAY down for neck braces. Presumably, this means that fewer neck brace users had any kind of spinal injury. Again though, open to interpretation but I can't see why they would have included this if that's not what they were trying to present. I do think they could have presented and written their study better.
  • + 2
 @KxPop: Very useful. Wasn't aware of it. Thanks.
  • + 1
 @Ttimer: Going fast is the best part. You are missing out.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: During a decade of motorcycle road racing professionally. THE most important lesson was not to doubt or panic. Most of the time the motorcycle is better than you( for this discussion substitute Mt Bike) and will get you through. This study was of top riders, 99% of us are probably not able to ride at this level, the bike has reserves of ability and you need to trust it(NOT BLIND TRUST).

Second lesson, look ahead, as far ahead as you can. As you start looking ahead, everything that seemed so fast and sudden slows down.
  • + 1
 @Bozeman10: Sounds like your bikes need service and a proper setup.
  • + 1
 @m1dg3t: my bike is dialed in.
I said my buddies bike
  • + 10
 Sitting here with a broke collarbone from riding and I just counted out 49.2 days on the calendar from the day of crash. Woohoo, light at the end of the tunnel!
  • + 2
 54 for me but at least I'm only missing winter here. Only 39 to go, ugh...
  • + 7
 I think it would be great if PB posted something on trail side first aid, addressing the most common injuries and what you as a victim or responder should do. it certainly wouldn't be a substitute for real in-person first aid training, but it wouldn't hurt to have some knowledge on specific situations. I can't believe how many times I've been on group rides and someone has gotten injured and most people in the group are completely clueless as to what to do, or they straight up panic.
  • + 10
 My wallet gets seriously hurt, everytime I buy enduro stuff.
  • + 5
 You need to run scat-5 protocol on it
  • + 8
 Red Bull Rampage called and wondering where the hell is Rider Health Survey??
  • + 4
 #drinkwater
  • + 6
 "In the EWS race study ... nearly a third of riders (29%) returned to racing after a concussion" should set off AIR RAID SIRENS for teams, sponsors, and organizers.
  • + 11
 According to the original survey, 2000 EWS racers were questioned, and 0.6% reported concussions, which is approx. 12 people. Then it says that 29% returned to racing, which is 4 people. That's why percentages are often weak or misleading statistics to quote.
  • + 3
 @reggiegasket: Appreciate your clarifying.
  • + 7
 I feel like karate has helped me. Instead of falling into something I just roundhouse kick the shit out of it.
  • + 1
 Having no martial arts background, I fall like a sack of cement, almost guaranteed to brake something every single time I crash
  • + 6
 Why don't they show how many rocks were smashed by Richie Rude to get those cut up shins? What about the rocks?
  • + 4
 Apparently, the pins in his pedals are still suffering a serious concussion after hitting those shins.
  • + 8
 WE ALL GONNA DIE
  • + 2
 Great to have all that data. The shoulder thing being the most common injury is interesting. Hopefully I remember that come fall and work on them over the winter. As well, I always wonder if our sport with have its 'american football' style reckoning about head injuries. Hopefully not.
  • + 2
 Whistler doctor told me he saw 6-8 shoulder injuries a day from the park Smile so awesome... he was laughing at my 3rd degree AC separation and said ya, 1 in 10 bikers get hurt here, while 1 in 1000 skiers get hurt during the winter...

Dirt is just unforgiving... part of the deal. No equipment will fix stupid in us.
  • + 4
 all these riders now days are not wearing enough pads because they want to look all svelt and thin. they should take a page out of nicholi rogatkin's book and get protected
  • + 5
 Men report fewer injuries because of Monty Python. No injury, it's just a flesh wound!
  • - 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Jun 12, 2019 at 10:59) (Below Threshold)
 Nothing compared to men getting raped. These go totally unreported
  • + 1
 I have had a broken collarbone in 1997, separated shoulder (type 3) in 2008 and a broken humerus in 2017. I get the rider ratio as 0.10 serious injuries per rider per year for me, if you ignore the broken ribs, wrist and whiplash. Fun though
  • + 1
 "At this point, we should point out that women represented about 10% of the contributors to both studies so the men’s stats are far more likely to be accurate."

It does seem odd that there's no attempt at estimating population values here, especially as some of the sub-samples that are being described have less than 200 cases. I'm not used to reading health science data though: would it not be normal to use some inferential stats here rather than simply reporting the descriptive sample data as if it were the population?
  • + 1
 Three weeks ago, on my neck of the woods, I was landing from a silly 2ft drop when my right arm -probably weakened by a previous little crash- said bye bye and gave way. Result: OTB on a rock slab, shattered humerus, surgery, plate, screws. Full-face helmet certainly saved my face, and probably my life. Lesson learned the hard way: never ride until fully healed.
  • + 1
 Who would have thought a sport where you try to avoid crashing as the goal is to go as fast as possible would have less injuries than a sport where the biggest fastest humans deliberately slam themselves into each other constantly!? :-P

It's great to have these case studies though, if unnecessary risk can identified and prevented or eliminated then it benefits everyone, not much point doing one of these assessments for Rampage though I don't think.
  • + 1
 Years of American football taught me to fall (or survive getting knocked down). That followed by many trips OTB before dropper seat posts were invented. I haven't vaulted my bars and landed on my feet in many moons. Those were (not) the days..
  • + 1
 Well done EWS for doing this study. It's disappointing if the UCI hasn't done such research, especially looking at concussion. You see too many cyclists across all disciplines get back on their bike when they've clearly had a head injury. On the road it seems to be left to the mechanic to check their helmet and send them on their merry way.
  • + 1
 Martial arts training taught me how to roll automatically without rolling over my spine and to not reach my arms out to catch my fall. The awareness from practice and familiarity can help one control his or her fall to an extent.
  • + 2
 Do you think they should mention that a rider died during a race in 2015? I think that might make the XC comparisons a little silly.
  • + 1
 Rocks- more protection, makes sense when you look at how the downhiler's used to race, and now the Enduro riders are going as fast with little protection. We all do it, I've just bought a troylee stage for gnarlier tracks
  • - 2
 WCDH racers use as much protection as EWS racers. On local Enduro comps I see many people padded all the way up. The only typical Enduro thing I see is full body armor and Bell Super...
  • + 4
 Megatower made the thumbnail twice in one day!
  • + 1
 Lol they changed it XD
  • + 2
 @James:

What about writing an PB article on how to deal with concussions correctly and how to self diagnose a concussion if suffered.
  • + 0
 More than a thousand people die each year in Canada from automobiles. Which is another luxury of first world countries. There are no health benefits from driving a car. The cardio one gets from riding prevents cardio vascular desease. You get in shape cycling. Mountain biking promotes fitness. Everything has risks.
  • + 12
 That’s not the point here, dude.
  • + 1
 I understand your point, but I found that commuting by bike in traffic (bike paths when I could) is far more dangerous than MTB racing and training. I spent twenty years collecting the data.
  • - 2
 @COnovicerider: what is the point ? People get injured mountain biking? Who would have guessed?
If your a anti mountain biker . Sierra club member this is just the information you need to win the argument that mountain bikes should not be on the trails.
People get injured mountain biking . No shit. ! I'm so surprised!
  • + 2
 Just look at Gwin's crash in FW. This is proper tuck and roll action + some luck.
  • + 1
 This one time I was looking the wrong way and ruptured my spleen on a catfish. This other time I got hit by a bus going 100, and was fine. Go figure...
  • + 1
 This is great data and glad that someone is finally compiling injury stats. Does UCI have stats for XC and DH hidden away somewhere too?
  • + 2
 You basically have to throw out the female/male comparisons here with such tiny sample sizes.
  • + 1
 I'm not familiar with health science norms, but as the data isn't going to kill anyone if it's wrong I'd have thought it would be completely fine to work with a 200 person sample as long as you reported the confidence interval? Not reporting that seems weird to me across the report as a whole; I don't really understand what we're supposed to make of plain descriptive stats of a sample.
  • + 1
 @delusional: The problem is that governing bodies like the EWS need to formulate their safety rules around good data, of which there really isn't any. If they are overly cautious, that could make racing too expensive for privateers, or reduce the excitement too much and make races boring and bad for product marketing. Racing is inherently dangerous, and its supposed to be. Thats what makes it exclusive, rewarding, and exciting. Finding the right balance between risk and safety isn't going to be easy until we can get better data.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: Yeah, I'm not disputing that. I guess my point was that I'd expect that with a 200 person sample they could get a reasonably narrow estimate working at a 95% confidence interval, and as they're not testing drugs or anything a 95% c.i. would be totally reasonable.

Although, looking at it again that's only relevant for the data in section 2, that deals with non-race data. That's the only part where they're trying to infer results from a sample to the population. Section 1, that deals with EWS race data, and so might reasonably be used to formulate safety rules, is not dealing with a sample but rather is surveying the population: they collected data from every EWS racer for a period of two years. So in that case these are entirely accurate numbers.

Anyway, quite apart from sample size issues, it's not like they're going to make different rules for men and women. In fact, it's not really that clear why this data needs to be segmented in that way at all.
  • + 1
 As a kid, its weird to say it, but the best thing that helped me to avoid injury etc. was actually being good at riding.
  • + 1
 I'm proud to say I injured my collarbone during an EWS (amateur) practice, making me just another statistic apparently.
  • + 1
 Sometimes I roll, but other times I ragdoll...cracked a helmet and a wrist in the process once, ain't nothing I could do.
  • + 2
 Best way to avoid getting injured, is to stop crashing!
  • + 1
 How did 1/4 riders get hurt in the Olympics? Seems like a crazy high number
  • + 1
 None of these results surprise me even a little bit.
  • + 1
 What to do if you find a hand in a bag of ice trailside...
  • + 1
 Jesus ... I can feel the second picture in my left shin
  • + 1
 Way too much crashing! !!!
  • + 1
 very fun to read
  • + 1
 Super interesting read!

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