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Why The Need For Speed?-- ATVs, Speed and Brain Injuries

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Why The Need For Speed?-- ATVs, Speed and Brain Injuries
Kristel Wetjen, RN1, Charles Jennissen, MD2, Gerene Denning, PhD3 and Karissa Harland, PhD3, 1University of Iowa Children's Hospital, Iowa City IA, 2University of Iowa Children's Hospital, Iowa City IA, 3University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City IA

Head trauma is the leading cause of death and serious injury from all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crashes. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed of ATV-related injuries at a university hospital. Descriptive and comparative analyses were performed. Results: Preliminary data identified 345 cases from 2002-2009; 79% were male and 32% were children 40 mph (p=0.02). Only about 20% of victims overall were wearing a helmet. Younger riders (<16 years old) were more likely to be helmeted than those older (p=0.03). Competitive ATV racers, although helmeted, had lower GCS scores than all other victims. Helmeted racers had more severe head injuries than non-racing helmeted victims (p=0.02). Non-racers without helmets had lower GCS scores than their helmeted peers (p=0.01). Analysis of all cases through 2013 will be performed prior to the meeting.

Objective: The study objective was to better understand the relationship between speed and ATV crash-related brain injuries.

Objective Content: The increasing speeds of today’s ATVs are likely contributing to more serious injuries, including more severe head injuries. Although helmets are protective, there may be ATV crash speeds or mechanisms of brain injury at higher speeds that reduce helmet effectiveness. All ATVs should have a code-protected, tamper-proof speed governor. This would particularly assist parents and employers in protecting youth and employees from the serious risks associated with high operating speeds.


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