06 Jul 2021

How Kozane Can Minimise the Risk of Injury in Extreme Sports

Over the past decade, extreme sports have become a multi-billion dollar industry with activities such as BASE jumping, skateboarding and paragliding surging in popularity. The adrenaline surge and life-affirming sense of personal accomplishment in defeating the odds are the reasons many become hooked. Nevertheless, professionals and amateurs alike recognise the importance of preventing serious injury and, ultimately, death.

Ice Hockey

With speeds of up to 30mph, sharp skate blades and aggressive, full-contact moves, ice hockey players are often at risk of cuts and lacerations, particularly to the exposed neck area. This was graphically illustrated in two US National Hockey League games: the first, in 1989 when Clint Malarchuk severed his jugular vein, and the second, in 2008 when Richard Zednik received a skate blade cut to his carotid artery.

More recently, the American College of Surgeons reported a case of a 17-year-old high school hockey player whose teammate tripped and struck him in the neck with his skate blade. Fortunately, on all three occasions, the players received prompt medical attention and fully recovered. This was not the case for Swedish player, Bengt Åkerblom, who in 1995 received a fatal skate blade cut to the carotid artery. Neck guards became mandatory for all players in Sweden on 1 January 1996.

While such incidents are rare, neck guards can form a vital protective barrier against both blunt and penetrative forces. The neck guards are usually heavily padded or made from multiple layers of cut-resistant fabrics, designed to minimise the risk of lacerations, with some able to withstand up to 600N of force. The Kozane Extreme and Kozane PRO fabrics are perfectly suited for protective sports garments, providing levels of cut protection usually associated with heavy industry. They are also lightweight and washable, which is ideal for performance-conscious athletes.

Speedboat Racing

Speedboat racing, from hydroplanes to powerboats, is a dangerous sport with a history of serious injuries and fatalities. Despite this, it still attracts participants and spectators alike. Wind and waves are unpredictable at the best of times. Combine this with high speeds, light craft and tight courses, and one false move could prove fatal. Over the past decades, boat top speeds have steadily increased, and some claim that the danger now far outweighs automotive racing, particularly given the lack of control over conditions on the water.

One of the key causes of cuts and lacerations is when drivers and crew are inadvertently thrown into the water and exposed to the risk of propeller strikes from other boats. While such injuries are uncommon, due to the speed and torque of speed boat propellers, they have the potential to mangle or kill an unsuspecting person in the water, while even comparatively minor injuries can be complicated by bacterial contamination.

As well as our specialist cut and water-resistant fabric, Kozane Aqua, our range of cut-resistant fabrics can be fully laminated to provide water resistance. Kozane PRO is the lightest cut-resistant fabric of its class, offering high levels of cut, puncture and tear resistance while being breathable and comfortable. This makes it a good choice for sports like speed boating where the risk of cuts and lacerations is high, but a little extra weight can be the difference between first and second place.

Motorcycle Sport and Bike Racing

Road rash, or abrasion injuries, are common for both professional and amateur motorcyclists. The term “road rash” includes a range of injuries caused by the body coming into contact with the road or track surface and varies in severity depending on the speed at the time of the incident, the type of surface, weather conditions, the distance of the slide and, of course, the protective equipment worn by the rider.

Medical professionals rate abrasion injuries by degree from least to most severe. For first degree cases, only the top layer of skin is affected, while for second and third-degree injuries, deep cuts and lacerations can expose wounds to dirt, gravel, metal, glass and other debris, making them susceptible to infection. In extreme cases, underlying layers of fat and muscle can be exposed, requiring complex reconstructive surgery and risking permanent damage to nerves and tendons.

For optimum tear and abrasion-resistance, we recommend our outstanding Kozane INVICTA series, offering the highest levels of protection against serious abrasion injuries associated with motorcycling, according to the European Standard EN388:2016 for Abrasion, Tear and Puncture Resistance. Unlike other protective motorcycle gear, Kozane INVICTA fabrics are both soft and breathable, meaning they provide comfort as well as potentially lifesaving protection, and they are ideal when used as reinforcements and areas which need extra protection.

Designed specifically for motorcycle safety apparel clothing, Kozane® MOTO can be used as a liner fabric for motorcycle trousers or jackets, or on its own to manufacture abrasion and tear resistant clothing. Soft, lightweight and breathable, it achieves the maximum protection according to EN 17092-2/: 2020 (EN 17092-1: 2020) Impact Abrasion at 120 km/h, level AAA.

Minimising Risk with Effective Personal Protective Equipment

Though professionals and sporting organisations are working hard to make extreme sports safer for everyone involved, effective protective equipment is an essential part of minimising the risk of severe injuries.

If you are a sports professional part of a sports organisation and would like to know more about the potential to incorporate Kozane fabrics into protective garments, please contact our dedicated representative Eve Ichim on +44 (0)7599 546 566 or by email at eve.ichim@granberg.no.

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