Head And Neck Support (HANS)


Only recently has the racing industry acknowledged that the number one cause of racing-related fatalities is basilar skull fractures from excessive head motions and neck loading. Racing legend Dale Earnhardt's death proved to the racing world and the general public that what appears to be a low impact crash can be fatal. Under development and extensively tested for over a decade, there is a device that can reduce the risk of serious injury or even death to the driver in such a crash. It is the Head And Neck Support (HANS) device.

The HANS, head and neck support was invented by Dr. Robert Hubbard, a biomechanical engineering Professor at Michigan State University. Many debilitating or fatal head and neck injuries could be prevented using this system. In 2000, compact versions of HANS (Figure 2) were developed for CART, IRL, F1, NASCAR, NHRA, ASA, Sports cars, Power Boating and many other racing series.

Extensive testing has proven that HANS consistently reduces the injury potential from head motions and neck loads.

The latest example of the engineers' efforts to make Grand Prix racing as safe as possible is the new Head And Neck Support (HANS). The system is easy to use and extremely effective. It prevents over-extension of the driver's neck region in the event of extreme deceleration. It is designed to 'complete' driver head protection, covering the one aspect to be still exposed.

Forward movement of the head and neck has, until now, been the only unrestrained area in driver impact safety. Extensive research and testing has resulted in what experts now believe to be a practical solution to the issue.
HANS features a carbon fibre collar connected securely to the upper body, with straps attaching it to the helmet. The four main parts of the system are:

1. Support brace- rests on shoulders.
2. Padding- is 'fine tuned' for both comfort and fit.
3. Tethers-high strength Nomex tethers secure helmet to support brace.
4. Anchoring- complete system is secured by standard 75mm shoulder straps.

The fundamental purpose of the system is to effectively form a single 'body' of the head and torso.

By purposely directing the loads experienced following impact, the driver's helmet is able to assist in dissipating the loads. HANS is intended to prevent driver's head from being thrown forward in an accident, a common 'whiplash' situation which could lead to an over extension of the spinal column.

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