Posted Wednesday, October 16, 2002 4:45 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Roller coasters are not bad for the brain after all, says a University of Pennsylvania study. Researchers calculated the effects of riding three of the nation's mega-coasters and found that the forces experienced by the head are not nearly enough to cause brain injury. The study comes after anecdotal reports of dozens of people, including eight who died, who suffered burst blood vessels, bleeding, and nerve damage in the brain around the time they rode a roller coaster.
The really sad thing here is that this actual science will get lost in the Markey-esque hype around the issue. Still, good to have reputable scientists back you up if you happen to be IAAPA and its members.
----------------- Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com "There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, when it's all in your mind. You gotta let go." - Ghetto, Supreme Beings of Leisure
I'm glad that scientists know that roller coasters are safe and that there doing actual experiments and proving it to the public that theres no way unless you have a pre-existing disorder that you can get brain injury, maybe Markey will shut up?
I don't know why people even care about if they re REALLY safe. Of course there is some danger becaue it is a machine and something could go wrong. But they have alot more safety measures that it looks like. Riding RollerCoasters is alot safer than riding in a car, a plane, and even using a toothpick.
Actually, there is a negative correlation between going to amusement parks and having a traumatic brain injury. No joke! Amusement park attendees are statistically less likely to have a traumatic brain injury than the average for the general population. Rollercoasters and other rides don't actually do anything to protect the brain, it's just that people who ride them tend to be young and most traumatic brain problems are associated with otder people.
I agree with Jeff's comment that the outcome will get lost in the media. I don't know how many people read People magazine, but they had an article recently about a lady who is suing Six Flags Fiesta Texas for $20 million dollars for getting hurt on Joker's Revenge (probably why it's closed). Do you think People will post this article. Hell no, because it doesn't sell like there usual stories do. ------------- If you want expensive rides, you're going to pay for them, in one way or another.
They are all "high-G force" rides which have been implicated in claims of brain injury. Well, I'm not sure about Face/Off, but it's been frequently cited as a high-force ride.
These researchers were smart enough to look for rides with high accelerations instead of automatically picking on Millennium Force and Superman: The Escape just because they happen to be tall and fast.
What does seem to be missing from their sample is a major head banger. If anything is hard on your brain riding coasters it's having your head banged back and forth. I'm sure that those forces are much higher that any you would receive from the nominal G forces of a coaster. Speed, The Ride does have OTSR's, but from what I hear it isn't a really bad banger like some other Premiers.
Of course Ed Markey thinks that a woman got a brain hemorage from riding Peter Pan's Flight. He also ignores the fact that she had severe pain in her head while waiting in line to get on rides. Maybe it's long queues that cause brain injuries. (Pardon the sarcasm)
Dr. Toshio Fukutake, co-author of a study contending that roller coasters were responsible for four cases of otherwise healthy patients developing bleeding on the brain, said there are much faster coasters than the ones in the Penn study.
I can't believe he doesn't realize speed has no relation to brain injury. It is acceleration of the head Mr. Fukutake that causes injuries, not speed.