A midwest ambulance service has released its collected statistics on the results of wearing or not wearing a neck brack in motorcycle competition.  Great Lakes EMS serves amateur competitions for AMA in five states.  For the last 10 years, they have accumulated data associated with injuries received in motorcycle competition.

Study: 10 Years Of Data

Great Lakes EMS says it collected its data from January 2009 through October 2018.  Included in the data are a total of 9,430 patients, with 8,529 where their use or non-use of a neck brace was documented.  The 901 patients not included in the study data pre-date documentation of whether the patient was or was not wearing a neck brace and are excluded from the study.

Injury rates and types

Great Lake EMS’s findings are as follows:

  • A critical cervical spine injury is 89% more likely without a neck brace.
  • Death is 69%+ more likely (due to cervical spine injury) without a neck brace.
  • A non-critical cervical spine injury is 75% more likely without a neck brace.
  • A clavicle (collarbone) fracture is 45% more likely without a neck brace.
  • Cervical spine injuries sustained without a neck brace are more severe, require greater care.
  • Cervical spine injury of any kind is 82% more likely without a brace.

Based on the above statistics Great Lakes EMS concludes that neck braces provide an exponential improvement in rider safety.  Additionally, they say that they will continue to record the above data for many years to come.

Photo Credit: Atlas Neck Braces

Making Decisions

Based solely on the statistics above, one could quickly determine that neck braces absolutely do prevent or reduce injuries.  However, the data was not gathered in a scientific study or subject to peer review.  The statistical calculations presented here may or may not have been calculated/evaluated correctly.

To their credit, Great Lakes provides a disclaimer at the end of their study:

 All data contained within, and related to this report is the sole property of Great Lakes EMS, Inc., and shall not be used by any entity, company, manufacturer, or organization as a means to market and/or contribute to the sales and/or profit of goods or services without written and legal consent of Great Lakes EMS, Inc.

The data contained in this report is and was strictly collected for informational and statistical purposes, and is not designed to endorse any product, service, or company, nor does the data relate to, or assume that all products designed for these types of injuries will provide any benefit(s) to the user. Great Lakes EMS, Inc. and its members, volunteers, contributors, and alike are not medical doctors, nor are they attempting to solicit medical advice in any form.

Great lakes EMS, Inc highly encourages you to speak with a medical professional, and/or representative/sales agent for specific brands/manufacturers in your area should you have any questions or concerns regarding products you intend to use, as well as your health, safety, or otherwise. (emphasis added)

Although not scientific, this study makes you aware of possible outcomes and background data.  Perhaps the best part is that it may encourage you to discuss neck braces with your medical provider.

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