Motocross (MX) and Supercross (SX) injuries are inevitable at some point for all dirt bike riders. It’s the nature of the beast-riding high-speed and light motorcycles on a rocky terrain with other high speed bikes around could mean crashes.
#ProtectyourPassion means protecting yourself as well!
A 2004 study from Italian Orthopedic Surgery specialists reported that surprisingly, injuries are most likely to happened during stadium cross competitions (15%) than during outdoor motocross practice (7.6%.) This study also underlines a very interesting figure showing that the risk of injury is 2.3% for every 100 hours of riding. Good news, but to be clear, 95% of motocross riders will suffer at least one injury during their career.
When injuries occur most of them are bruises and 28% of these bruises are on the upper extremities while 27% on the lower, 21% on the trunk and 16% on the face. When it comes to fractures, 51% happen in the upper extremities while 38% in the lower, and the rest were on the spine, chest, and skull.
Top 5 Injuries
You can’t ride properly with fear. Get back on the horse, and prepare for the next one. For beginners (or the lucky ones that have never been involved in an accident yet) here are the top 5 injuries for dirt bikers and how to protect yourself.
1. Collarbone fractures often top the list of injuries as it can be broken by direct hit of the shoulder or while falling from a bike by stretching the arm further than normal shoulder articulation tolerance during the impact. Always try to wear a neck brace to avoid collarbone injuries and protect your neck.
2. Wrists and Ankles are often affected by sprains after ligaments have been torn or stretched beyond their limits. This results in high levels of pain and inability to ride. A rider is more likely to avoid sprains if using a proper pair of motocross / dirt bike boots and ankle braces. You should never ride without a good pair of wrist and elbow guards.
3. AC Joint Have you ever heard of your AC joint? This is the acromioclavicular joint linking collarbone with the shoulder blade, a weak point of the shoulder subject to sprains and ligament injuries if impacted directly. Wear shoulder supports to lower this type of injuries.
4. Knees Knee injuries often damage one of the four main knee ligaments, the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), pretty similar to alpine skiing injuries. Knee injury usually occurs when the bike leans over to take a corner and the knee pivots. Sometimes landing after a high speed jump with the knee in hyperextension or when your foot slides down from the foot-bar and you try to support your body weight with your leg on the ground. Your best ally is knee braces.
5. Shoulders Once again, the shoulder area may be impacted by hurting shoulder joint and rotator cuff muscles and tendons during direct impact or while falling from the bike and stretching the arm to an awkward position. Protect your shoulder joints with dirt bike shoulder support .
An ounce of prevention…
Prevention measures that can be taken prior to the occurrence of an injury include appropriate strength training for your muscles and ligaments and don’t forget to warm up and stretch. Use protective gear, don’t take unnecessary risks, and maintain your bike properly. (See “13 tips to maintain and prepare your dirt bike”)
Your off-road motorcycle also needs protection
Once you suit up with your armor, don’t forget that your Motocross machine will also suffer from intense use and repeated shocks !
Since your dirtbike needs a lot of cooling during off-road sessions, most of actual models come with large radiators on both sides. These radiators can be the Achilles’ heel of the endurance motorcycle, especially in lateral shocks. No rider should ever race without radiator guards or radiator braces unless he/she is sponsored by a famous radiator brand and get replacement for free!
Also try to mount a glide plate or skid plate on your dirt bike frame to protect frame, motor, exhaust collector, water or oil pump, engine and ignition from direct damages from stones, logs and whatever can cross your way.
Exhaust shields are also a good option when it comes to protect the collectors and tubes from being crushed and / pinched.
Very few passions can hurt so bad as off-road motorcycle riding and no other passion will give you such a thrill, so ride with care!
References / More information
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