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DR Michael Henderson FIA Institute Fellow - Australia PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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DR Michael Henderson FIA Institute Fellow - Australia. Dr Michael Henderson Chairman, Australian Institute For Motor Sport Safety Fellow, FIA Institute For Motor Sport Safety Medicine in Motor Sport Summit and CMO Seminar Valencia, 17-19 September 2010.

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DR Michael Henderson FIA Institute Fellow - Australia

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Michael Henderson

FIA Institute Fellow - Australia

Dr Michael Henderson

Chairman, Australian Institute For Motor Sport Safety

Fellow, FIA Institute For Motor Sport Safety

Medicine in Motor Sport Summit and CMO Seminar

Valencia, 17-19 September 2010



Aims of the presentation


  • To present the reduction of death and injury in motor sport from a public health perspective

  • To show how epidemiological data can

    • detect trends

    • direct countermeasure priorities

    • Build safer systems

  • To call for the better systematic collection of data at all levels of the sport

A plea for better data


  • Mass data

    • Incidence, exposure, rates, trends, priorities

    • Risk and risk factors

  • Detailed data and research

    • Non-judgemental crash investigation and analysis

    • Energy exchange and pathways – physical and thermal

    • Countermeasure development

  • Obstacles to progress

    • Poor general appreciation of need and importance

    • Lack of time and resources in volunteer based organisations

Safer systems: a public health model for motor sport


Based on the matrix of Dr William Haddon Jr, 1972

How epidemiological data has led to change: some examples


1968 (Henderson): year’s sample of crashes in Britain: led to harnesses for open cars

1972: (Jim Clark Foundation): study of Formula One cars 1966-1972 seasons: multi-factorial, identifying circuit design, fire prevention and protection

1990: (Trammel and Olvey): data from Indy-car racing 1981 to 1989: multi-factorial, identifying lower limb injury as priority

1999 (Chesser et al): five-year study of 521 medical centre attendances at a British circuit: injury patterns and prevention

2004 (Minoyama and Tsuchida): study of professional racing in Japan: injury patterns by vehicle category

Motor sport injury: a new literature

1998 (Melvin et al):in the US, instrumentation of Indy cars

2000 (Wright):for Formula One, the first analysis of instrumented cars

2000 (Mellor):Formula One in-depth crash investigations examined head injury, scientific basis for new helmet designs

2006 (Melvin et al):extended study of impact recorders in stock car racing


Total annual reported deaths in motor sport, all participants, world wide, 1895-2008

What’s going on here?


Data source:

Drivers and co-drivers, annual deaths by year and category, 1990-2008

(Three-order polynomial smoothed data


Data source:

Other participants, annual reported deaths by year and category, 1990-2008


Track officials



Implications of mass fatality data

The data show how fatality numbers and trends are changing over time, and indicate the most promising fields for countermeasure development

Worldwide figures show that while safety is improving for competitors in circuit racing, the situation is probably different for rallying

Competitor protection for professional circuit racing is now so good that it may be recognised as a successful application of the “vision zero” epidemiological principle now being used in highway safety

The principle is that no motor sport participant should be exposed to forces above tolerance levels for death or serious injury

The ultimate in safety – Formula 1 and other professional categories – requires large resources. Cost-benefit analysis can support epidemiological data so that maximum benefit can be obtained from allocation of available resources


Summary and conclusions

  • A continuing flow of good data on crash rates, contributory factors and injury mechanisms is essential for the priority implementation of affordable safety measures, perhaps with associated cost-benefit analysis, especially at club and national level

  • Available epidemiological data show that the application of science-based measures has generally brought huge reductions in trauma

  • However, the same data show that in some categories the trend for fatality reduction is at present adverse. Safety improvements have been unevenly distributed throughout the sport, with professional circuit racing showing the greatest benefits


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