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OZ DRZ

DO NECK BRACES WORK? a look at what the research says

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There isn't much in the way of decent research on neck braces and how effective they are for dirt riders, so I trawled through the existing research and tried to make some sense of it all.  I suspect a major problem is we usually rely on anecdotal evidence  e.g. a guy says he slammed into a tree and would definitely be a paraplegic without his neck brace. Most of the professional motocross riders are ditching them now so they must not work, right? Another guy knows someone who broke his collarbone so neck braces must break collar bones...

In a nutshell? The research from Dr Leatt appears to be very thorough and finds that neck braces do work. But of course Dr Leatt designs and sells neck braces so it doesn't really qualify as independent research. Independent studies seem to vary between finding no evidence to some evidence for neck braces working, they all say that more exploration needs to be done in this area. 

And there's one informal study put together by EMT workers which looks like a slam dunk case for buying a neck brace... but the methodology and analysis is very weak so it's hard to trust their conclusions. See the links below if you'd like to check it all out further. I know there have been a few threads about this but keen to hear what others have found in terms of serious research. 

 

https://ibrc.osu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Abstract_2016_Sathyanarayan.pdf
https://trid.trb.org/view/1222807
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304101101_Finite_Element_Simulation_of_Neck_Brace_Protective_Equipment_for_Motorcycle_Riders
https://www.leatt.com/product_uploads/.../LEATT_WHITE_PAPER_FINAL_rev1.pdf
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4617221/
http://www.directmotocross.com/neck-brace-effectiveness-statistics-by-great-lakes-ems-inc/

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I think the research might be slim because no one wants to stick their neck out.  :)  

Jokes aside, I do think that might be the reason.  It's just so important to know but the variables are many and the penalties for wrong research is pretty high.

I wear a PCS neck ring and cant ride without it.

Edited by Sycamore
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I haven't heard one good excuse not to wear one. They practically weight nothing, there non obtrusive and mine has saved my neck a couple times. People that complain about them probably aren't wearing/fitted them correctly. They are designed to put all the stress on huge bone and muscle structures to dissipate energy. If people are breaking collarbones they aren't wearing them right. Another funny one i hear is that it will break your sternum, well guess what their gonna break it anyway when they are resesitating your dumbass after getting wrapped around a tree or cased a big jump. A neck brace is cheaper than a $50,000 life flight and months-years of recovery. Also a neck donut wont do jack on a dirt bike js, completely different forces than what they are designed for.

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28 minutes ago, sixdaysoffun said:

I haven't heard one good excuse not to wear one. They practically weight nothing, there non obtrusive and mine has saved my neck a couple times. People that complain about them probably aren't wearing/fitted them correctly. They are designed to put all the stress on huge bone and muscle structures to dissipate energy. If people are breaking collarbones they aren't wearing them right. Another funny one i hear is that it will break your sternum, well guess what their gonna break it anyway when they are resesitating your dumbass after getting wrapped around a tree or cased a big jump. A neck brace is cheaper than a $50,000 life flight and months-years of recovery. Also a neck donut wont do jack on a dirt bike js, completely different forces than what they are designed for.

I've heard from some they obstruct some of your view in some way.  I've also heard that some braces may actually cause an injury in the event a big or certain type of get off.  I dont hold with any of it since I havent done the research or gone out of my way to look.  plus according to the OP their isnt much in the way of research anyway so your Pro stance on them really doesnt have that much standing research -wise.

For my use the PCS works wonders.   I wear it for neck pain.  without it I'd be toast days after the ride.  Wearing it, and I am totally fine.  I just trail ride mostly, very little chance of me going super fast doing nutty things.  Granted anything can happen but......

THere is some research on knee braces.  It was out several years ago, and the research spanned 20 years or some huge number.  Oh and it wasnt good for knee braces.  I recall there was as many or even more injurys using knee braces than without.

not saying this relates but research depends on a lot of things.  For example the knee brace study was done on foot ball players.  Most used the knee brace all the time, and never took it off.  That in itself should send off warning bells to anyone.  Knees connections need strength at that is done by supporting itself naturally.  The football players using the braces all the time (practice, weight training, game day) isnt helping the knee acheive the necessary strength.   

Back to the neck do hicky, I would recommend anyone thinking about such a device read all you can about it, then add some good old common sense and come up with your own conclusion.

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https://www.cyclenews.com/2018/12/article/neck-brace-effectiveness-study/

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I've heard from some they obstruct some of your view in some way.  I've also heard that some braces may actually cause an injury in the event a big or certain type of get off.  I dont hold with any of it since I havent done the research or gone out of my way to look.  plus according to the OP their isnt much in the way of research anyway so your Pro stance on them really doesnt have that much standing research -wise.
For my use the PCS works wonders.   I wear it for neck pain.  without it I'd be toast days after the ride.  Wearing it, and I am totally fine.  I just trail ride mostly, very little chance of me going super fast doing nutty things.  Granted anything can happen but......
THere is some research on knee braces.  It was out several years ago, and the research spanned 20 years or some huge number.  Oh and it wasnt good for knee braces.  I recall there was as many or even more injurys using knee braces than without.
not saying this relates but research depends on a lot of things.  For example the knee brace study was done on foot ball players.  Most used the knee brace all the time, and never took it off.  That in itself should send off warning bells to anyone.  Knees connections need strength at that is done by supporting itself naturally.  The football players using the braces all the time (practice, weight training, game day) isnt helping the knee acheive the necessary strength.   
Back to the neck do hicky, I would recommend anyone thinking about such a device read all you can about it, then add some good old common sense and come up with your own conclusion.
Yeah, basically if you're a pencil neck it's a good idea, if you haz neck lak bool, mak no difrens.

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This debate sucks. There is absolutely nothing even close to definitive on their effectiveness or lack thereof. Those that believe in them should wear them. Those of us that don't, won't. End of story until a real, unbiased, scientifically conducted study proves one way or another.

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2 hours ago, HansLanda said:

This is the main "study" that's quoted to support the use of neck braces but unfortunately it's not a real study. There could be some truth in their statistics but there's no discussion about the criteria, assessment, analysis, ruling out extraneous variables and the dozens of things you normally do so the research is hopefully reliable. It would be great if they handed all the data over to some experienced neck nerds to get some firmer conclusions....

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I have worn an EVS neck collar, but I'm going to a Leatt 5.5 neck brace as soon as the snow has melted and our trails are open for dirt bikes.  I've had a neck injury, courtesy of the US Army (and being more HOOAHH than smart), and I really don't want to go through it again.  Will the Leatt, or any other neck brace, prevent me from being injured? Who knows.  However, just like the body armor I wear at work......I'd rather have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.   

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By the way OZ DRZ, if those are your videos, I watch almost every one of them.  I considered myself a newbie when it comes to riding, I just started back after about 25 years.  I've learned a lot from those videos from Australia. 

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Think better to wear then NOT to wear. 
Why i not have one is because i the they are WAYYY overpriced,  Here a good one is 350-450 Dollars. I rather have a good helmet for that money 
Idk man, in the 1800s they thought leeches and arsenic were good for you too. Science is science, everything else is snake oil.
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I have worn an EVS neck collar, but I'm going to a Leatt 5.5 neck brace as soon as the snow has melted and our trails are open for dirt bikes.  I've had a neck injury, courtesy of the US Army (and being more HOOAHH than smart), and I really don't want to go through it again.  Will the Leatt, or any other neck brace, prevent me from being injured? Who knows.  However, just like the body armor I wear at work......I'd rather have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.   
False equivalence. Body armor is known to work.
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17 minutes ago, HevyRotashunz said:
39 minutes ago, BUNK657 said:
I have worn an EVS neck collar, but I'm going to a Leatt 5.5 neck brace as soon as the snow has melted and our trails are open for dirt bikes.  I've had a neck injury, courtesy of the US Army (and being more HOOAHH than smart), and I really don't want to go through it again.  Will the Leatt, or any other neck brace, prevent me from being injured? Who knows.  However, just like the body armor I wear at work......I'd rather have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.   

False equivalence. Body armor is known to work.

I see your point, but...

Body armor, knee braces, seatbelts, helmets, condoms, eye protection, air bags, roll cages, parachutes, "bullet proof" glass, life jackets, and etc.....have all been known to fail. However, people still use them.

There's too many variables to test with any kind of safety equipment for something to be labeled 100%; hence the fact that body armor, and or soft body panels, are referenced as bullet resistant, not bullet proof.

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I see your point, but...

 

 

 

Body armor, knee braces, seatbelts, helmets, condoms, eye protection, air bags, roll cages, parachutes, "bullet proof" glass, life jackets, and etc.....have all been known to fail. However, people still use them.

 

 

 

There's too many variables to test with any kind of safety equipment for something to be labeled 100%; hence the fact that body armor, and or soft body panels, are referenced as bullet resistant, not bullet proof.

Nobody said anything about levels of efficacy, just that one thing is proven to work at least somewhat and the other thing has zero scientific knowledge establishing its usefulness. Wear a neck brace if it makes you feel better, but at this point that's it's only defined benefit, placebo. Put some leeches on your next contusion, it'll heal faster.

 

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16 minutes ago, BUNK657 said:

I see your point, but...

Body armor, knee braces, seatbelts, helmets, condoms, eye protection, air bags, roll cages, parachutes, "bullet proof" glass, life jackets, and etc.....have all been known to fail. However, people still use them.

There's too many variables to test with any kind of safety equipment for something to be labeled 100%; hence the fact that body armor, and or soft body panels, are referenced as bullet resistant, not bullet proof.

Like I said knee braces are an iffy.  Aside from possibly weakening the knee they may even kill you if you break a femur.  Apparently the protection point the brace has puts that pressure right on the femur.  It's a boot on footpeg, thigh on bars thing if I remember right.  It's the same kind of complaint I have heard with neck braces, it moves the impact pinpointed somewhere else.

But it may be as you say, yeah they fail on occassion but overal better protection. 

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