SPINAL COMPRESSION INJURIES CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE !! A CRASH PAD REDUCES SPINAL COMPRESSION FORCES. GET SOME AIR AND A WHEELS DOWN LANDING CAN BREAK YOUR BACK !! PUT ONE IN YOUR SEAT NOW NOT AFTER.
Canandaigua Motorsports Park 4-15-2016
There's no reason this track should break backs every year but there's been two or more for the past few years.
These guys are former Dirt Mod drivers running 305 sprints. Stuff Happens
By Doug Elkins - Syracuse.com
Racing began this past weekend in Central New York and it didn't take long
for racers and fans to get a reminder of what can happen when things go
wrong in a race car.
Veteran racers Charlie Donk and Darryl Ruggles were involved in a hard
at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Friday and each was sent to area
It was lap 2 of the 305-sprint car A-Main and the two were racing side by
side for the lead when Ruggles hit an implement tire on the inside of Turn
1. The impact broke his left front suspension and sent him into Donk. Each
car flipped violently and Donk hit the wall while upside down and soared 40
feet in the air before coming to rest outside of the speedway on all four
Despite walking to the secondary ambulance under his own power in the pit
area, Donk was airlifted by Mercy Flight Central to Strong Memorial
Hospital in Rochester with several fractures in his back and neck, a broken sternum
and a separated shoulder. He is in a neck and back brace and will be in it
for a minimum of eight weeks. According to his wife Wanda, the 54-year-old
was still in ICU on Monday.
"He's lucky to be alive and lucky not be paralyzed," his wife said. "A lot
of people with these injuries are paralyzed."
Donk's helmet was damaged and according to his wife looked like a grinder
had been used on it. His full containment seat was crushed on the right
side which may have led to his separated shoulder. Ruggles was upside down after
the incident and was actually unconscious when rescuers got to him.
"I remember a bunch of smashing and crashing," Ruggles said. "The next
thing I remember the paramedic is screaming at me, 'Darryl, Darryl, Darryl.' I
was upside down, I couldn't breathe. It was crushing me."
Despite walking to the pits under his own power, Ruggles was taken by
ambulance to Thompson Hostpial in Canandaigua with pain in his lower back
and ankles. He was released early Saturday morning as X-rays and cat scans
all came back negative. He is doing well but is beating himself up over
"I'm blaming myself 100 percent. My biggest concern, what is killing me is
that I want Charlie to be better," Ruggles said. "We were racing our asses
off. I hope it was fun for everyone watching. It was a great race until …"
Donk's wife confirmed that he is done racing after the crash and even
Ruggles is contemplating a similar move.
"I'm supposed to race Friday but I don't know if I'm doing it."
Donk's family encourages friends, fans and well wishers to send cards and
letters to 2168 Creek Road, Palymra, New York, 14522.
802 note: Daryl has a sore back but had a CRASH PAD in his car. His daughter Alysha broke her back a couple of seasons ago in a sprint car crash in the same corner of the same track. They have been strong supporters of the CRASH PAD since.
FIRST HAND ACCOUNT OF TONY STEWART ACCIDENT Story from NBC Sports:
Legendary drag racer Don "Snake" Prudhomme gave NBC Sports a first-hand account of Tony Stewart's accident in the Southern California sand dunes Sunday.
Stewart and a number of current and former racers including Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Prudhomme were having a day of fun in the sun and sand when Stewart became separated from the group and went missing for about 90 minutes.
Here's how Prudhomme described the incident to NBC Sports:
"We were riding these sand rails. We do that quite a bit. We were all together. What really happened is, it isn't hard to get split off from one another. In other words, if a guy makes a left turn and you're not watching his flags or there's dust or something, you can make a right turn and kind of get lost.
"So, we got mixed up and (Stewart) was probably missing for an hour-and-a- half from the pack, at least. He was missing, he was not there. We figured maybe he got hooked up with one of the other guys.
"Then we were stopped and kinda gathered up and started to shoot the s and asked, 'Where's Tony?' One of the guys (on the dunes) came driving up and said, 'Hey, one of your buddies is hurt over on the other side of the hill.'
"There was about three of us who went back on our buggies and we came upon him. He was laying there. He got out of it (the sand buggy) and was laying there in the sand on his back."
From left, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart and Don Prudhomme before they and others including Ray Evernham, Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle hit the sand dunes this past Sunday in Southern California. (Photo courtesy Don Prudhomme) Contrary to media reports, Prudhomme said Stewart did not roll his sand buggy. Rather, Stewart apparently caught air in a jump and landed hard.
"What happens in the dunes, there was kind of a big mound and he flew over it and came down hard on the shocks," Prudhomme said of Stewart. "In other words, it bottomed itself out. What happened then, it drove the seat up intohis ass, basically. It was like, BAM! He hit really hard, but we were running pretty fast.
"We pulled up, asked 'How you doing, dude?' He was on the ground and said his back's hurt. We made sure he could move all his legs and everything, so everything was good there."
Prudhomme said Evernham took charge of the scene. Gordon, car collector Ron Pratte and Prudhomme provided assistance.
"Ray Evernham is a real good guy, a real responsible guy," Prudhomme said. "He's been around situations like this before. Basically we got (Tony) into Ron's cart and Ron drove him real slowly out of there. (Tony) was holding himself up, as if his ass was real sore.
"Ron has a place in the area, so he had his helicopter fly over and land on this pavement because he couldn't land on the sand. Tony had his arm around my shoulder and had another arm around Ray's shoulder and Gordon was holdinghim up by the belt. He was walking real slow and we got him into the helicopter and laid him in the back seat.
"Ray got in the helicopter to go to the hospital. The pilot said he was going to Palm Springs Hospital and got on the radio. Ray was the best guy for the job, so he went with Tony and looked over Tony until midnight."
Prudhomme defended Stewart's driving.
"(Stewart) wasn't driving reckless or crazy or anything else," Prudhomme said. "He just happened to hit this (sand) ramp and the way it came down, and it was a lot taller or higher up than he probably realized. And it came down and crashed. We went back to get the car he was driving after he got into the helicopter and just fired that baby up and drove it back to the ranch.
"It wasn't like it flipped over. I've heard people say it flipped over. No, it didn't flip over, it just came down so hard that it messed his back up."
Stewart was conscious and alert throughout the entire episode, Prudhomme said.
"He was hurting, and we were all concerned about him," Prudhomme said. "But he wasn't like knocked out or anything like that. He was totally coherent, totally everything. It's just his back was screwed up.
"None of us realized how bad it was. The next day Ron and I went over to thehospital to see him and we sat in the room and he was showing us X-rays and s and talking. Tony's Tony. He looked at me like he could just get up and walk out of there, but he couldn't. But he looked great."
When asked to describe how Stewart looked in the hospital the day after the wreck, Prudhomme borrowed a page from Stewart's usual comedic playbook.
"He needed a shave and a bath, I know that!" Prudhomme quipped.
"(Stewart) was great. In fact, we were in the hospital and it didn't look like he was going to have to be operated on. It was just going to be where they were going to put a support on him. He walked around with the doctor early in the morning with a walker.
"So we told him, 'Wow, that's cool,' and he said, 'Yeah, I don't think I'll have to be operated on.' But apparently when they got him back to Charlotte,these guys, whoever looked at him, felt he needed an operation.
"I just hope he's going to be alright. He wasn't doing anything crazy. Thosethings can run 110 mph pretty easy on the sand. It's a nice piece of equipment."
As it turned out, Stewart had traveled a couple of miles in the wrong way, Prudhomme estimated.
When asked about when Stewart was missing, Prudhomme said the three-time Sprint Cup champ was starting to worry if anyone would find him.
"It scared the s out of us guys," Prudhomme said. "We were saying that Tonyhad been missing, and then we're told Tony's hurt. It was a ways away from where we were at. We found the trail he was on, went over there, and I said to (Stewart), 'Dude, how long have you been laying there?' He said, 'About an hour-and-a-half."
But there was a bit of comfort for Stewart, so to speak, Prudhomme added.
"It was the most comfortable place you could lay in the soft sand with a badback," he quipped. "In other words, he wasn't ready to get up. I think he was starting to doze off a little bit (while waiting to be rescued). He just rested there.
"You know Tony, he's a tough son-of-a-bitch."
Tony Stewart will miss what would have been his final Daytona 500. By Tom Jensen @tomjensen100 Feb 4, 2016 at 1:00p ET FOX SPORTS
It's official: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will begin his final season as a driver on the sidelines following an accident with a sand rail on the West Coast last Sunday, Stewart-Haas Racing announced on Thursday. That means Stewart will not compete in what was scheduled to be his final Daytona 500, and will miss additional early-season races.
Stewart suffered the back injury when the sand rail he was driving landed wrong, compressing its shock absorbers. He was wearing a six-point harness and a helmet at the time of the accident, according to multiple sources, who added that Stewart's vehicle did not roll over.
A number of drivers were at the dunes after attending the Barrett-Jackson Collector-Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday. They were guests of noted car-collector Ron Pratte at an area known as Glamis Dunes near the California-Arizona border.
Tony Stewart hospitalized with back injury after ATV accident
Stewart, 44, will miss the Daytona 500, a crown jewel event he has not won in his 17-year career.
A burst fracture is a spinal injury which occurs most often in either car crashes or falls from a significant height.
The vertebra cannot handle the load when the compression occurs and gets crushed, spreading out the bones.
That type of injury is worse than a compression fracture, which is what Denny Hamlin suffered in 2013 during
a crash at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin did not require surgery but missed four races and part of a fifth.
From MRN Scelzi Sidelined Six-to-Eight Weeks July 30, 2015 | 5:41 P.M. EST
Scelzi, who entered the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series event at Thunderbowl Raceway as the championship points leader, was injured during the opening laps of the feature. (Photo: Collin Markle Photography)
Dominic Scelzi will be sidelined for at least the next month and a half after he sustained several compression fractures in his back last Saturday during a crash at the Peter Murphy Classic.
Scelzi, who entered the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series event at Thunderbowl Raceway as the championship points leader, was injured during the opening laps of the feature when his car got into the cushion, pirouetted and landed hard on the rear end.
"I have five or six compression fractures in my upper and lower back as well as one in the base of my neck," he said. "I'll be out for at least six-to-eight weeks. No surgery, basically just bed rest. I'm supposed to be off my feet for most of the day. When I do get up I can't lift anything or do anything strenuous at all. It's pretty strict lockdown."
Scelzi had kicked off the marquee event by qualifying 13th quickest. He led most of his heat race before a mechanical problem sent him into the pits on Lap 7. That relegated him to the B Main, which he won to garner the 14th starting position in the main event.
"I was trying to stay out of trouble to start the feature," he said. "I got into the cushion a little hard. That was one of the easiest crashes. It only bent the bottom rails up. I just landed in a bad way." Scelzi was running just outside the top 10 when the accident occurred.
"I felt immediate pain in three spots of my back," he said. "It was really difficult for me to move my arms and legs. They wanted to take extreme caution. Fortunately nothing was broken."
The safety crew elected to cut the frame to get Scelzi out of his sprint car. He was then taken to a hospital and has been visiting doctor's offices all week since the crash.
"I want to give a shout out to the safety team and a huge thanks to Cary Tanner for getting me in to see a doctor on such short notice," he said. "My goal if I'm cleared is to come back for Gold Cup (Sept. 11-12 at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif.). As soon as I'm available to get back and I'm cleared I'm going to hit every race in California as possible."
Not only will the injury test Scelzi's patience during the next several weeks, it eliminates his opportunity at winning his first career King of the West championship.
"We had a really good shot at the championship," he said. "It's really disappointing and it hurts a lot. We had our sights on winning the championship and due to one mishap we're taken out of it. But it could always be worse."
Scelzi also competed last Friday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., where he qualified sixth quickest and finished second in a heat race to advance into the dash. He then maneuvered from eighth to fifth place during the dash, which lined him up on the inside of the third row for the main event. "We were really good," he said. "I took the lead before a yellow came out midway through the race. I just didn't have very good restarts." Scelzi ended with a third-place result, which was his 12th top five of the season.
September followup From Sprint Source
Scelzi Continues Recovery from Back Injury, Hopes to Race at Gold Cup Shawn Miller on Sep 03, 2015 Article Date: 9/3/2015 by Inside Line Promotions
Inside Line Promotions – FRESNO, Calif. (Sept. 3, 2015) – Dominic Scelzi’s recovery from a back injury is coming along well. Scelzi, who hasn’t raced since sustaining several compression fractures in his back on July 25 at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., has been visiting a physical therapist regularly the last month.
“We are making good progress and I’m feeling better each week,” he said. “It’s an arduous process, but I’m putting in the hard work. I really want to thank my family, sponsors and fans for the great support and for sticking behind me. ”
Scelzi said he is feeling a lot better and is on pace to return to the cockpit for the Gold Cup Race of Champions on Sept. 11-12 at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
“The Gold Cup is one of the premier races each year and it’s one every driver in California looks forward to,” he said. “It falls seven weeks after my accident, which puts it in the time frame of when doctors predicted I could return to racing. Hopefully there aren’t any setbacks and we can be out there competing that weekend.”
Scelzi, who has earned one victory and 12 top-five finishes this season, said his itch to race is stronger than ever.
“Whenever something you love like racing is taken away from you I think your desire to get that back builds,” he said. “It’s been really hard not to be able to race and I know when I get back in the race car I won’t take any lap for granted.”
Kevin Swindell's Serious Spinal Injury
occurred at the 2015 Knoxville Nationals at the start of a heat race. Knoxville sees some serious crashes and most drivers walk away. The difference is that Kevin landed wheels down from about 8 feet. To make it worse, he landed backwards so all his momentum loaded him in to the back corner of the seat and the car bounced.
A good seat does not give, so unless you have the Right Stuff between you and the bottom, the only thing that can compress is your spine.
Looks like Kevin broke his back and got some nerve damage. I'm guessing the surgeries pulled the bone fragments off the spinal cord.
A tweet from Kevin Swindel in February 2016 says what we suspected:
Sammy tweeted the details after the accident....
Kevin Swindell)Statement from Swindell Family Regarding Kevin Swindell's
Progress Des Moines, IA - Kevin underwent surgery today at Des Moines Mercy
Hospital to address one of two fractures he suffered in his back following
last week's accident at Knoxville Raceway. Both surgeries have been
successful and the doctors are heartened by his progress. The doctors are
also running tests on and monitoring a spinal chord injury that Kevin
received during the accident. We realize there is a long battle ahead, but
Kevin has remained positive throughout the process and is prepared to fight
to regain his health. We're all hopeful for a Friday discharge and the next
steps to recovery. We would like to especially thank the doctors, nurses
and the staff at Des Moines Mercy Hospital for their outstanding work and the
care they have provided for Kevin. Additionally, we want to let the sprint
car community and all of the fans who have reached out to the three of us
know that we are grateful for your ongoing support, prayers and donations.
We remain optimistic about Kevin's progress and will provide updates as
theybecome available. 8/18/15
Here's video of a Broken Back. See how quick it happens
This is the note we got from the driver....
"I just had a pretty bad crash at Lebanon Valley Saturday night. Sure enough after xrays I have a compression fracture of the t4 . I am heading off for a cat scan in about an hour, and meet with Dr.s Wednesday to review and see how long I will be out. I will have a crash pad before I get back in. I was fine until the very end when car landed on all fours."
... and his incar video.
Dave got over the fence and landed wheels down after a little hang time.
Dave won his heat earlier in the night https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC1c8kP5o4g
But here's what happened in the feature...
....I was fine until the very end when car landed on all fours."
STUFF HAPPENS!!... Put a CRASH PAD between you and a bad landing !!!
Ready for next week. That was easy. Thanks you to all who rang and who turned up last week.after a big crash I'd like to say thank you to Jason Donnelly from JDS. For bringing to my attention the crash pad ,with out it ,I could have been hurt seriously like Roby gorden at premier speedway . I have never been so comfortable in the car and my wife has never been more at ease with me In the car.This inexpensive cushion between your spine and seat is the way to go in a big crash. Thanks JDS
Car size, track size, rookie or veteran, flip or not... Spinal Injury can happen to anyone. Don't learn by accident !
December 22, 2014 •TRENTON, NJ — Veteran open cockpit driver Lou Cicconi, Jr., of Lester, Pa., is resting comfortably Sunday morning following a crash Saturday in the Len Sammons Motorsports Productions (LSMP) Three Quarter (TQ) Midget ‘Battle Of Trenton’ feature event last night.
Cicconi sustained a non-displaced fracture of the first lumbar vertebra (L1) after hitting the Jersey barrier retaining wall head on, then spinning around and slamming down on the concrete track surface wheels first. The car did not overturn. No other drivers were involved in the crash.
As of Sunday midday, Cicconi remained a patient in the trauma unit of Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.
In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Cicconi told EMT workers at the scene that he was experiencing sharp lower back pain.
The EMT team, led by Track Services Coordinator Warren Alston, employed the use of a newly designed half-size backboard, designed and built by the Farmingdale-Howell First Aid Squad, which immobilized the driver as he remained in the car’s seat.
Alston directed his team to cut the ‘halo bar’ above the drivers’ head. Then, the team sheared the metal head rest support. Next, Alston had his team raise the front of the car physically to allow the force of gravity to assist in the extrication which included the introduction of a full size backboard under the half size device.
“We took all the precautions,” said Alston. “He was in pain, we knew it was a back injury and the extrication was crucial.”
No timetable was known as of Sunday afternoon as to when Cicconi might be released or whether his post-trauma treatment would or would not require the use of a back brace.
Here's why one of our Dealers signed up...
They had a recent Sprint race nearby. Bill (new dealer) says the track was full of holes and ruts. After the race was over one guy got out of his car and looked and felt like he had been smacked around with a baseball bat. He looked at the guy in the car next to him, when he got out, and he didn't look like he had been all smacked around. The beat up guy asked the fresh guy why he didn't look like he had been beat up by the track. The fresh guy said, "oh, that's because I have a Crash Pad in my seat". The beat up guy called Bill, asked him to find out more about this Crash Pad thing, and get him one!
Bill says one of his drag racers recently blew a LR tire which sent the Top Fuel car into the air. When it came down hard on the frame, the driver received a compression fracture. Bill is going get him to install a Crash Pad too.
Competition Sales of Dallas 3151 Skylane Drive Suite 103 Carrollton, Texas 75006 Phone 972-310-7214 firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a Letter from a User...
To 802 Solutions,
My name is Cory Lawler. I race a 125cc Micro at Selinsgrove (PA) and Linda’s (PA) Speedways. I have 1” 802SAM underneath my bottom and behind my back. I have used it all year. I didn’t have any crashes this year but I do feel more comfortable having it in my car.
I believe in your product because my Dad (Pancho Lawler) explained to me how it works and because of my brother Dylan’s experience in his Quarter Midget. Dylan crashed his Quarter Midget into the outside wall, went up in the air, turned around and came down hard on the wheels. His back was hurting. I don’t like to see my brother hurting. Dad said Dylan’s back was spiked and they took him to the hospital to see a Doctor. Lucky it wasn’t serious and he was only sore for awhile. He uses 802SAM now.
I would recommend your product to any driver.
Dad has me wash it regularly. It looks as good as new afterwards. It is ready to use again next year unlike some materials that look bad after some use.
Cory Lawler Pancho & Debbie Lawler
STUFF HAPPENS !!! Champion or Rookie... Hotlaps or Feature. It's never expected.
From Area Auto Racing News, Sept 2, 2014, by Todd Heintzelman
Michael Parent Continues Recovery from Back Injury article from Area Auto Racing News
A lot of people have asked us about the pour-in foams for seats. We initially looked into pour-in foams to solve the spinal compression problem for ourselves, but rejected it after we found out more about it. There are a lot of well intentioned suppliers of pour-in packages but below is a brief summary of why, after our research, we decided against the Pour-in foam idea for our racing and as the best solution to the spinal compression problem.
The compression resistance of a material, at very high speeds (one tenth second or less) is the characteristic that reduces impact force. Just like all shocks are different, all materials react different. There are so many variables in a pour, in the field, that there is no certainty what the characteristics of a pour will be so testing is only relevant to the piece tested.
Another important factor is that contoured material (even the material we use) performed much worse when it was sculpted or molded to match the shape of the test dummy bottom. The thinking is that the preload by the butt on a flat sheet of material creates a uniform supporting force instead of uniform density (like you would get from a molded or contoured fit). In tests, the preloaded flat sheet performed considerably better than a form shaped material like a contoured cut or a pour-in would be.
A pour in should have similar density across the pour, but that is where the problem starts with the pour-in materials. The characteristics of the pour can vary greatly depending on many factors including: uniformity of the mix, duration of the mix time, partial mix/partial pour times, temperature of the mix, humidity, barometric pressure, temperature of the seat, heat sink effect of the seat changing outer parts cure temp more than inner, cure of one area while adjacent is being filled, air pockets, bubble size, cell size, etc, etc, etc.
Some Problems with Pour-in Foams-
Closed cell - closed cell foam compresses air bubbles instead of expelling air and can create rebound that adds Gs to an impact.
Wear out - when closed cells pop, the characteristics and capabilities of the foam degrades.
Mix consistancy changes the cure- cell size varies with mix consistancy, and time until poured. Everyone will do things a little different. Power blenders can introduce air bubbles and stir sticks take longer and may not create a uniform blend.
Bag pressures and gaps - pressure pockets in the bag during cure will vary the cell size, air pockets in the bag will leave gaps.
Weather changes the cure -barometric pressure and humiditiy changes the cell size, ambient temperature changes cure rate and rigidity.
Time changes cure - mix time, ready time, and pour time will be different for each application. Everybody will do it different.
Temperature difference - the metal of the seat acts as a heat sink to draw heat from only one side of the pour, varying the cure across the thickness.
Thickness - the foam cures differently in thick and thin areas.
Bottom space - the pour does not create space under you. If supports are usedunder you during the pour, then when removed there is no material in those voids, right where it's needed most and the supports can distort the shape of your butt for molding.
Preload is very important! - If bottom space is created, somehow, with a pour- in, the material fits the contours of your butt. This makes for thin foam at thepartsthat protrude most. Tests found that contoured materials lose substantial capability in absorbing impact compared to the same material as a flat sheet. Flat sheet material preloads to create a uniform supporting force with some areas compressed (preloaded) more than others. Contoured material (theirorours) ends up with a uniform density creating thinner spots with less material and supporting force. Contoured material does not work as well as flatsheetin tests by a substantial margin.
Adjustment - once poured, the foam is not adjustable for thickness or changes.
No test data - No comparative high speed impact test dummy data is available for pour-in foams. Each pour would test differently anyway.
Inconsistant Results - Test results can vary significantly due to the inconsistancy of conditions at the time of the pour. No certainty that a particular foam pour is good or bad for impact.
Cost - It's more expensive and more time consuming to install a pour than a CRASH PAD.
Not portable - not easy to remove and may not fit another seat.
After we researched the foam pour-in material characteristics, uncovered the many installation issues and had no good high speed impact performance data, we rejected the pour-in foam approach for the spinal compression problem. Otherwise pour-in foams are good for containment as the body needs are different in all other directions than vertical down.
The 802SAM material we use is factory made under well controlled conditions and is uniform and within a narrow specification tolerance. It is ALL the same, and ALWAYS the same. The US military could have anything they want to reduce spinal compression injury. We chose what tested best for them.
The pour-in foam is very good to fill the gaps in a seat for a good fit. It works well to distribute sideways forces over a broad area. However, it is an unknown when it comes to compression space needed under your spine and there are too many variables and uncertainties to insure performance. Some racers have put Crash Pad material in the bottom and lower back of their seat and then poured-in for a good fit in the rest of the seat. Others have done a cutout at the bottom of their existing pour-in and used 802SAM for the bottom and lumbar areas.
Alysha Ruggles update
Alysha received a compression fracture in the Sprint Car Crash that Tony Stewart caused at Canadaigua Motorsports Park in mid July 2013. Click the link for the audio interview. She tells about the injury, recuperation, racing next year and the CRASH PAD she wished she had then (about 5 minutes in). She got her back brace off in mid December.
Michael received a compression fracture in a Sprint Car Crash at Canadiagua Motorsports Park in August, 2013 in the first turn, of the first lap, of the first heat. Click the link for the audio interview. Michael tells about the injury, the treaments, racing next year and also about an earlier fire accident. He mentions that he did not have a CRASH PAD.
It was a difficult friday nite at the track. Two drivers injured and one with a compression fractures in the lower back. This story from TJslideways...
– October 12, 2013
Dustin Ingle (#2) shown racing with Matt Westfall earlier this season at Waynesfield Raceway Park. – Jan Dunlap Photo
Waynesfield, OH — (October 12, 2013) — Dustin Ingle and Chad Wilson were injured in separate incidents on Friday night during the Harvest of Sprints at Waynesfield Raceway Park.
Ingle was airlifted to a local hospital after another car made contact with his roll cage while upside down during the fourth non-wing sprint car heat race. Ingle was reported by Waynesfield Raceway Park officials as being awake and alert, but no further updates were available as of this posting on his condition.
Wilson was injured in an earlier crash and was diagnosed with a T4 and T5 vertebrate fracture. Wilson was released from the hospital and is resting at home.
North East Midget Assoc race at Riverside Speedway, NH
Groveton, NH – Coming from the 10th starting spot, P.J. Stergios needed but eight laps to take the lead and go on to win the shortened (20 laps) Northeastern Midget Association Lites feature Saturday night at Riverside Speedway.
Running the outside, Stergios dominated the event which featured a violent crash by Scott Bigelow. The Lites had trouble getting restarted after a lap 10 yellow, needing three tries. On the second try, Bigelow went over Avery Stoehr’s wheel and, after an end-over-ender, hit the wall. Bigelow was rushed to the hospital with two broken vertebrae and a broken finger as was Stoehr (wrist injury). Bigelow and Stoehr were running second and third at the time of the crash.
Bigelow was running third on a restart try in which yellow stayed out and his open-wheel machine was launched 15 feet into the air when he ran over Avery Stoehr's tire. "He went for a ride," his father, Randy, said. "He cracked two lumbar vertebrae and sprained his thumb, but he's walking and he'll be OK." Stoehr was treated for a wrist injury.
Canandaigua Motorsports Park- Saturday August 10-2013
First heat, first lap, first turn. Michael Parent from Quebec went through a vicious series of flips at the start of heat one injuring his upper back. He was take to the hospital by helicopter to avoid further injuries but was conscious and had movement in all arms and legs during the procedure. Reports are that he broke two vertebrae.
I saw this one happen while sitting in line to push out for the second heat. The car popped up above the pack and flipped several times.
The car landed wheels down, on the rear tires first and then slapped the front end to the ground. They cut the cage off to get him out. I tell you this stuff so you understand that this problem happens too often and it's serious.
BTW, I heard from Dale Gosselin (see below). He had bought a Crash Pad but didn't have time to fit it to his car for the race that night at Brockville. Ironic and unforturnate.
Dave, 802 Solutions.
Lernerville Speedway - Friday July 26, 2013
Jack Sodeman Jr suffered a T3-T4 vertebrae compression fracture Friday evening at Lernerville Speedway after a four-car pile-up during third heat race action. Get well wishes can be sent to Jack at https://www.facebook.com/sodeman23 The Peoples TWP DIRTcar Sprint heat races took the green flag with five drivers poised to take a shot at the 2013 Budweiser Track Championship with six weeks of Fab Four Racing scheduled through the end of August. Unfortunately, that number was whittled down to four after a four-car pile-up in the third heat race resulted in Jack Sodeman Jr. being extricated from his car on a backboard and transported to an area hospital for evaluation due to back and neck pain. Jack announced on his Facebook page overnight that his T3 and T4 vertebrae were fractured in the wreck. As such, he will be out of action for indefinite amount of time. The Lernerville Speedway management team wishes Jack a full and speedy recovery.
Driver suffers Compression Fracture in CAOSS/Patriot Sprint Series Race. Saturday 7-20-13 Brockville Speedway Brockville, Ontario, Canada excerpt from http://ondirtracingnews.com/?p=3290 -
Dale Gosselin experienced his first major flip aboard a sprint car resulting in a trip to the local hospital. He was released later during the night with a small compression fracture of a mid back vertebrae.
On lap eight Paul Pekkonen and Dale Gosselin made contact in turn 3 as both drivers were looking for the same real estate. Gosselin was sent off the track in a front to end flip that saw him land hard on all four wheels.
Compression Injury in California - Saturday 7/20/13
Antioch Speedway crash update: Driver suffered traumatic brain injury By Rick Hurd
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 07/23/2013 11:48:44 AM PDT Updated: 07/23/2013 11:48:44 AM PDT
ANTIOCH, California -- A driver injured over the weekend in what one Antioch Speedway official described as the most serious sprint-car wreck at the dirt track in several years suffered a traumatic brain injury and compressed vertebrae, according to the organization that runs the race series.
An updated Facebook page for the Golden State King of the West Series posted that driver Peter Murphy was diagnosed initially with a concussion, but his body began to show more severe symptoms than just a concussion later Saturday night.
A nursing supervisor at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where Murphy was taken after the Saturday night wreck, said he remained in "stable but serious condition" Tuesday morning.
Doctors also found severe stretching and swelling in Murphy's tendons around his neck, according to the post.
Murphy was injured when his compact winged car rolled over during lap 14 of a 30-lap race. He remained trapped in the wreckage for about 40 minutes after the wreck, which happened when Murphy approached slower traffic, clipped the right rear wheel of a car in front of him and flipped.
A second car struck the underside of Murphy's car as it sat on its side.
John Soares Jr., Antioch Speedway's owner/promoter for the past 17 years, said the wreck involving the veteran from Australia was as bad as he can remember.
"It was probably one of the most serious (crashes) since I've been here," hesaid. "Thank God it was a wingedcar; (the wings) absorbed a lot of the impact."
Gary Thomas, a spokesman for the sprint car series, added that the crash was the worst in a dozen races on the circuit this year throughout Northern California and Nevada.
Alysha Ruggles Fractures her back in Canandaigua Crash 7-16-13
by Bob PockrassSporting News
Tony Stewart took the blame for a wild sprint-car accident Tuesday night at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park that has left a young driver hospitalized with a back injury.
Stewart tried to make a pass on a restart in the middle of a three-way battle for third. Several cars were involved, and 19-year-old Alysha Ruggles’ car went airborne after it hit the wheels of another car.
Ruggles was later taken to a local hospital by her mother, according to the track’s Facebook page. Her father finished fifth in the race, according to the (Rochester) Democrat and Chronicle.
An updated statement on the track Facebook page indicated Ruggles has a fracture in her back.
“The brace has helped stabilize the fracture, and Alysha is up and walking around,” the track said in its statement.
Another Compression Fracture in Pennsylvania 7-13-13.
--- From PennLive.com 7-16-13 --- Slothower injured. Ryan Slothower suffered significant injuries after an accident in the second heat race at Lincoln Speedway Saturday. Slothower was diagnosed with compression fractures and transverse pressure fractures in his spine. He also is dealing with whip lash in his lumbar and lower back, as well as bruising. He will be out three to six months. There is a video of this nasty accident about 20 seconds in at the link below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKOvAIHxWmQ
Note: He says he had material in his seat but coincidently we were checking seats before the races and noticed that he had one inch of something under the uphostery, but it was not 802SAM.
Greg Wheeler Suffers Fractured Vertebrate at Butler Motor Speedway
The 2013 season has been a very tough season for racing injuries and deaths. Just this week we lost Jason Leffler. Unfortunately there has been another driver badly injured doing what he loves to do. Greg Wheeler was having a pretty good season campaigning his 410 winged sprint car as he currently sits fifth in the Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt Series presented by ARP. Last Saturday night he made the trip to Butler Motor Speedway in Quincy, Michigan to compete in a non-sanctioned sprint car race. In his heat race his sprint car had a stop fail in the rear suspension. This sent Wheeler off the track into a very scary accident. He was carefully removed from his car by safety workers and life-flighted to a nearby hospital.
Doctors at the hospital discovered a fractured C4 vertebrate in his back and determined that surgery would be necessary to repair the fracture. Thankfully, Wheeler’s surgery was successful as he was put in a halo but he will face a lengthy recovery. Wheeler’s wife Sue would like to express her and Greg’s appreciation for the support for the entire racing community and the safety crew at Butler Motor Speedway for the great care they gave Greg at the accident scene. We can all give thoughts and prayers to Wheeler and his family as he faces a long and difficult road to recover from his injuries. Well wishes for Greg Wheeler can be sent to 1757 East Brookeside Trail, Columbia City, IN 46725. Get well soon Greg!
Then this entry was found in TJsideways forum:
Greg Wheeler accident I see on the home page it states Greg Wheeler flipped off the track, to be more specific, he didnt flip, he just drove off the track between 1 and 2 and went airbourne about 30 feet in the air landing on all 4 wheels landing near the tree line. In the 20+ years I've attended Butler I've never seen a car leave the track in a fashion that Wheeler did. To be honest, I dont think the General Lee ever got that much air. Hope Greg is ok.
FACT - (5-18-13 @ 11:45 am) - ASCS National Tour sprint car driver Shawn Peterson was severely injured last night at US 36 Raceway in Cameron, MO. Shaw is in his rookie season with the national tour and was competing in his heat race when contact with another car sent him flipping into turn one. He was taken to an area hospital where it was discovered that he fractured his C-1 and C-2 vertebrae a severe concussion and other injuries. His wife reports this morning that doctors don't think surgery will be needed at this time and there is no paralysis. He will be in a neck brace for 3 months.
Shawn has a long road to recovery ahead of him. Keep Shawn in your thoughts and prayers as he tries to recover from this nasty accident.
Back Breaking Legends Crash Tony Brockhouse contacted us to become a dealer for the Crash Pad (see Legends Central on our dealer page). He knows first hand why it's needed. He had his crash in April of 2012, a slow end over end and then a drop to the fame bottom. Tony Brockhouse's crash required Elko Speedway to call for a life link air lift to get Tony to the hospital. He ended up breaking 2 vertebrae in his back.
Another Compression Injury
It can happen to anyone. Even during a practice session. It's racing and things go wrong and a crash happens. We all understand and accept that we're going to bend up some equipment. But no one wants to get hurt. That's why we wear helmets and firesuits and gloves and arm restraints and sit in containment seats inside rollcages with helmet teathers and seat belts.
Cody Fairchok took this wild ride at Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania in mid April and somewhere during the crash his spine was compressed and he received a compression fracture of the neck. Looks like he will recover and race again.
Cody noted on his facebook page that the doctors say his back is finally healed as of the end of November.
Story from Area Auto Racing News and John Hitchner pictures.
Seats we've seen...
Take a look into the bottom of this seat !
Many drivers with compression fractures go to Indy to meet with Dr Terry Trammel for advice and treatment. He is the leading specialist in treating racing injuries and one of the experts in spinal injuries. The drivers we've talked to, all said that Trammel told them that they need 3" of compressible material in the bottom of their seat.
We recently saw this sprint car seat that is an attempt to add some compressible material without raising the driver up in the seat.
This one is a real back breaker ! Worse than a standard seat.
What they did was make two cutouts in the seat bottom where the butt cheeks are, and fill those pockets with 3" of styrofoam. This was a creative but misguided attempt to solve two problems. One was to leave room for the driveline that is moving up and down a few inches under the center of the seat, and second was to put 3" of styrofoam under the driver.
The driver didn't want to be raised up in the car, so they figured that they would get around this problem of raising the driver by putting the full 3" of stuff under the driver on each side of the driveline but leave the center of the seat as is. Their theory was to make the bottom of the seat level from side to side and absorb impact with the styrofoam.
The designers apparently thought that the seat bottom would remain flat in a crash and somehow the styrofoam would just absorb the impact forces and stay level. What they didn't understand is that the material has to be compressed over a distance to reduce the impact forces.
Apparently no one, from the guy who made the seat to the team or driver thought about what would happen to the driver in a seat bottom impact.
If the driver is forced into the bottom of THIS seat, each butt cheek would probably sink into the styrofoam while the tailbone (the end of the spine) would remain on top of the narrow strip of rigid metal in the center. This seat still gives the tailbone nowhere to go and and worse, it reduces the surrounding support of the spine as the rest of the body moves down on the pockets. They didn't understand much about the problem, impact physics, the injury or the body. This thing could cut you in two and is the most dangerous thing we've seen.
Also, the styrofoam may have seemed like a good choice because it is rigid enough to support the driver's butt cheeks, but it is not the best material for the shock absorbing application.
Ultimately, this seat design will do the opposite of what it was intended to do. The driver is just straddling a metal bar. It is a scary seat and will probably be a lot more damaging to the driver in a crash than just a plain seat. I don't want to offend, because someone had good intentions when they designed this and I'm sure they wanted to improve the situation, but this seat design is a back breaking disaster.
Here is what our research has found.
First, the laws of physics requires an increase in stopping distance and time to reduce impact force. That's the law. No shortcuts.
To reduce impact force, the thicker the compressible material, the more distance and time you have to slow down and reduce impact forces. Next, it is important for the compressible material to compress with a constant resistance, evenly, throughout the downward motion. Also, the more surface area of compressible material that is under you, including under your thighs, the more the force is spread out and dissipated. And last, it is best for your whole body to move in unison.
There is no compromise for space between your butt and the rigid seat bottom to deal with the spinal compression problem. That space allows the resistance of the correct Shock Absorbing Material to slow your downward motion over time and distance. You need time and distance to reduce impact forces. It is literally the law of physics.
So the thickness and surface area of the Crash Pad is as important as the material 's characteristics. In a sprint or midget, where room is needed under the seat for the driveline, and you can't lower your seat, you will have to sit a little higher in the car to be able to reduce impact forces that cause spinal injury. That's all there is to it.
You need compressible space in your seat.... you just can't get around it. It's the LAW!
A seat is a personal thing.
You spend time mounting it so that you feel comfortable with the pedals, steering wheel and line of sight. Everyone needs something a little different. When you get it where you want it, it feels right and there is a feeling of security and support by being wrapped in metal that is reinforced and solidly mounted.
Over time, racing seats have become more chiseled and pocketed to fit the human form and contain the body. Most cars have limited cockpit space and there really is not much room to make changes in seat position. By laying the seat back a bit or raising it on spacers you can help match your body dimensions to the location of the controls.
After a few races, your body learns the feel of the seat and it feels natural. Make a change and your body soon learns the new feel and that becomes right.
When we created the crash pad we realized that adding something to the seat will feel different at first but we found that after a few times in the seat, then that feels right.
When the crash pad is added to the seat bottom it will raise you up from the bottom of the seat and the lumbar part will move you forward a bit. It has to! Raising you off the bottom of the seat is the critical requirement needed to absorb impact. So there really isn't any way to get around it. Space is needed under you to give you room to slow your downward motion when the seat comes to a dead stop and you are still moving. Your body can absorb some impact but once you exceed that capacity, things can break inside you.
To compensate for the raised position, you can remove spacers from under the seat or lower the seat mount, move it back and this will put your body back to the position you had before. If that's not possible and there is sufficient headroom, then try the raised position as is and it will soon feel normal.
Solving the compression injury problem within the current structure of race car cockpits is a difficult compromise. Until now the compromise has been to accept the risk of injury and pain and sit on a rigid seat bottom. Full containment was rumored to address the problem but although holding you in place has reduced most other injury occurances, it doesn't help with vertical down impact.
The crash pad is the beginning of a small change that can help you reduce the risk of a serious injury. It's simple and affordable and it's tested. Get used to the future. You really need to Pad your Butt to Save your Neck!
3/25/2013 No one is immune to Spinal Compression injury.
Denny Hamlin received a compression fracture in the lower back from his crash on Sunday. It could have happened when the car hit the wall and his belts compressed him in forward motion or could have happened when the car went airborne and then dropped on the frame bottom or a combination of both. In any case, the spine was compressed into the bottom of the seat. Nascar seats are expensive, solidly constructed and are fully fitted to the driver but they are notorious for having nothing in the bottom to absorb the shock of vertical impact or compression.
Let's discuss the impact. It was pretty much straight on into a concrete wall with no safer barrier. There was a small ramp before the wall that made impact occur at a slight upward angle to the wall and caused the car to rebound at an upward angle and get airborne. It was only three or four feet off the ground but landed wheels down flat on the frame.
It could be that the compression occured when he hit and was forced into the belts. Even if the belts are installed correctly, if you move forward, the belts stretch but shorten from shoulder to lap as the space from shoulder to back of the seat increases. This compresses down on the shoulders, compressing you into the bottom of the seat. If that didn't cause the fracture, then it happened when the car did the vertical drop. The injury was in the lower back so it could have been either, or a combination of the two compressions. That was a hard front end impact and a hard drop.
Bottom line is that with no compressible material or no compressible space, the spine is compressed by forces on one end against a solid seat bottom on the other end. If there actually was some compressible material in the seat, then the injury is not as severe as it could have been.
The problem is not new. In an Indycar study a few years ago they indicated that there had be over forty spinal compression injuries over the past ten years or so. The report says that some occured when cars hit tire walls, would be lifed in the air and then drop straight down with little damage to the car but a driver with a broken back. They recommended compressible material under the driver after their testing, but due to the low aerodynamic profile of the cars, the designers would only allow 1/2" of space under the driver for a rigid foam material. It had to be a rigid foam so that the driver wouldn't sit through it in normal preload from the driver's weight. They admit it has little effect.
Dr. Terry Trammel has suggested 3" of compressible material under the driver, to all the sprint car drivers that we have talked to, that have visited him to review their spinal compression injuries. He admits to them that it's been a hard sell due to driver's old habits and resistance to change. Headroom in sprints, midgets, and other cockpits has also been an issue but now tall cage cars are helping solve that problem.