Roller Coasters and Brain Injury:Fact or Fiction

Sunday, September 11, 2005 9:48 PM
Hey all,

I'm a college student looking to do a serious presentation on roller coasters and brain injury, and whether or not claims of brain injuries caused by roller coasters can be substantiated. Obviously, I'm thinking that it can't be substantiated, but I need to find 10 sources for my presentation, no matter what the sources think about the subject. Does anyone know of any good sources, preferably books or scientific journals, that would have this sort of information? I am only allowed to use one web source, so this is an extremely difficult topic. I've picked a back-up topic in case enough sources cannot be found.

Thanks in advance!

Sunday, September 11, 2005 10:03 PM
I did a research paper on the same topic in college for freshman english. I have a work cited and paper, and personal messaged and gave my email in case you wanted to discuss further. here are the sources I used, taken from my works cited.Works-Cited

Blue Ribbon Panel Review of the Correlation Between Injury and Roller Coaster Rides. Brain Injury Association of America 25 Feb. 2003

Byko, Maureen. “Materials Give Roller Coaster Enthusiasts a Reason to Scream.” JOM May 2002.

Elvin, David. “On the Wild Side.” CE Magazine Nov.1999. Fixed Theme Park Rides and Neurological Injuries, Neuro-Knowledge 2002. <>.

The Gravity Group, LLC. <>.

“News from Ed Markey” 7 May 2003 <>.“Roller Coasters,

Theme Parks Extraordinarily Safe, According to Two Comprehensive, Scientific Studies.” 21 Jan. 2003 <>.

Rutherford, Scott. The American Roller Coaster. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Company 2000

“Safety In The Amusement Industry: Serious Business Around The World.” IAAPA: Details < index.cfm?fuseaction=Details&iid=1047>.

Wood, Sean “Federal oversight of parks opposed.” 26 Feb.2003 <>. *** Edited 9/12/2005 2:05:52 AM UTC by Beast Fan*** *** Edited 9/12/2005 2:06:35 AM UTC by Beast Fan***

Sunday, September 11, 2005 10:12 PM
I also interviewed an engineer from the gravity group for their perspective. Anyway that should get you started. It might not be a bad idea to try and see if you can setup an interview with a roller coaster engineer, to get an expects viewpoint on the subject matter. Take a look at,Fixed Theme Park Rides and Neurological Injuries, that could be a very good source. Unfortuantely the link to Blue Ribbon panel study, does not seem to work.

I think you could take it from here, and perhaps get some more recent information. I wrote the paper around 2 years ago, so there is probably more articles out there. The best sources I think are the two studies on brain injury and roller coasters. The Blue Ribbon panel study and Fixed Theme park one, are the two I am talking about. They both concluded that there was no association between roller coasters and brain injury and the rare cases were so small compared to how many people ride, thus no real risk.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 11:19 PM
Certainly there's a correlation between brain injuries and coasters... but you have to keep it the context that these same injuries can happen doing everyday things like sitting in a chair and coughing.
Monday, September 12, 2005 3:12 PM

Not sure what you imply when you say correlation? Correlation in statistical terms is an actual quantity denounted by r that describes how much one variable is explained by the other. Dependent on what the value is, it could be considered a weak or strong correlation, or really none at all.

When I did the research on the subject matter, I thought that the risk was so minute and the overall amount of cases, was a strong indication that there was no correlation. Especially when several of the cases, the person did not notice the brain injury until much time after it happened. Thus it was hard for the panel to tell whether the roller coaster or some other cause was the result of the injury.

Basically if you want to say there is a correlation, then most everything has some correlation to some degree. But in this case it is so small that the correlation possibly could be explained by other things that could be the cause of the brain injury and not riding the roller coaster.

The actual accelerations and g-forces are well within what the human body can endure. You can not get g-force induced loss of consciouness (g-lock) on a roller coaster with the g's they pull. And most rides are way below ASTM limits, and not even close to doign that.

The only thing I would worry about roller coasters causing brain injury is a poorly engineered looping coaster with shoulder restraints. The head banging or whiplash could cause that if the ride is not well engineered and the rider is not paying attention. But those rides are few and far between, and the really bad ones are sometimes taken out to make room for improved versions or a new ride. *** Edited 9/12/2005 8:37:49 PM UTC by Beast Fan*** *** Edited 9/12/2005 8:38:36 PM UTC by Beast Fan***

Monday, September 12, 2005 4:20 PM
Drachen fire and Steel Phantom IMO were awesome coasters of their time. I do love Phantom's Revenge, but in the same respect, Steel Phantom did it for me too. Yeah I know most people don't like Arrow loopers. I do. And I miss these coasters. RIP DF and SP.


Monday, September 12, 2005 9:04 PM
I didn't say it was a huge risk, I just it was a risk, comparable to the other everyday actions.

The thing that is generally improper is the idiots like Markey running around portraying rides as death machines that will squash your brain.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:02 PM

Not sure if you read through the sources I provided, but here is an exermpt from my paper that I wrote. It discusses the risk of brain injury, which really is so small that it is not a risk.

From paper:

This panel conducted incidence rates for each neurological injury under review, based on a representative national survey of neurosurgeons and the estimated number of rides given from the IAAPA of 3.2 billion. The panel calculated that the incident rate for a neurological injury was 23 cases per billion rides and 16 cases per billion rides when cases with predisposing conditions were excluded (Fixed 13).

According to Dr. Robert Harbaugh of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, “our panel concluded that there is no proof that roller coasters cause neurological injury and there is no significant public health risk associated with amusement park attendance” (“Roller Coasters, Theme Parks Extraordinarily Safe” 1). *** Edited 9/13/2005 8:03:23 PM UTC by Beast Fan***

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 7:39 PM
Dude, I don't care about your sources. You asked fact or fiction, and it's a fact that coasters, like most any physical activity, can cause injury. But like I said, who cares? In the context of the widely reported medical opinion that brain injuries can be caused by so many things, it doesn't matter. That's why IAAPA is careful to point out the number of kids hurt playing basketball and the rarity that a ride could hurt your brain.
Sunday, September 18, 2005 12:07 AM

Dude, the sources were for the person who asked for them in the thread. They were not for you, so you should not care for them. And believe what you want, but experts in the field of Bio-Medical Engineering, the Amusement Park Industry, and well respected Brain Doctors, say there is no proof that they cause brain injury.

The incident rate was around 1 in 20 billion. This rate was from IAAPA data, and shows that the risk is not there, and thus not an issue of concern. I would think most sports would be higher than this, especially football or hockey, since brain injuries seem common there (concussion or worse).

So I do care, since I like giving the people the facts and what experts say about it. People that know a great deal about the subject matter are more qualified to comment and determine whether it is a risk than someone that is not an expert in this subject matter.

So the person who orginally asked the question wanted some sources and an educated opinion. I already did a similar paper and provided sources, and my conclusion on the issue after weeks of research.

I for one feel that amusement park attractions are one of the safest forms of recreational activities. The business is depedent on it safety record, and thus it is top notch. Most accidents are preventable though and have much to do with human error which could be a number of things. A guest not using proper riding technique, a ride operator not following proper procedures or in the best interest of safety, or even improper maintenance.

However these events are so rare, that I really never worry when going on a roller coaster. I think it helps to know all the redundant safety measures in place, and to just be aware of the ride and safety restraints. And really if you do your part as a guest to be safe, you would have to be really not lucky to be injured after the ride. Probably 1 in billion odds or so. I take more chances walking down a stairs then probably riding a roller coaster, so not really an issue for me. *** Edited 9/18/2005 4:09:02 AM UTC by Beast Fan***

Sunday, September 18, 2005 12:30 AM
Dude, the sources were for the person who asked for them in the thread. They were not for you, so you should not care for them.

Translation: I only want people who agree with my study to discuss it.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 12:33 AM
...the risk of brain injury, which really is so small that it is not a risk.

Size hardly makes it go away. Even if it is a minute risk, there is still a risk there. Oh, but thats right, you wrote a paper on it! So, like, pay attention to Beast Fan and such.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 2:44 PM

The Jeff that runs this site, was telling me he didn't care about my sources. But the person who started the thread asked for such sources on the subject. So it has nothing to do if you agree with the paper I wrote and my opinion.

It has to do with someone asking for sources for this subject matter, and me giving them. Then someone else stating he doesn't care for them, when they were not intended for his use.

Also whether you agree with me or not, I don't care so much. I just believe experts that do research on this subject and published their result more. Sorry but I don't think your enough of an expert on the philosological affects of g forces, or a expert on the brain, to make me believe your opinion on the matter more than those experts.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 2:47 PM

Well everything has some risk. But on the order of 1 in a billion or worst, that risk is approximately 0 in my book. Like there comes a point where you have to say there is not significant evidence to say that they do cause brain injury because 1 incident per 23 billion rides, is just not enough to be consider a risk, especially when other factors could be the cause of the injury.

That is what they concluded, and hence I feel the same way after doing the research. You might not, but I ask you to do some research and take the time.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 3:28 PM
You should hear my mom

"Eh, you better not ride those DEATH machines! Everytime a coaster is on the news its about people and there brains stopping on those things. Your gunna die on one of those things!"

Well mom, I have something for ya, if I do die, atleast I'll be doing something I love.

But really, its mostly the person, not the ride.

*** Edited 9/18/2005 7:29:17 PM UTC by Colin Fisher***

Sunday, September 18, 2005 5:37 PM
OK Beast Fan...I see your logic and understand what your saying.

So next time I tell Tekno how much The Beast is one of the worst woodies ever built I expect you to stay out of the conversation...after all it would be between Tekno and I and not something you should care about.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 7:15 PM
Well I don't think you understand my logic. If you start a thread to tell Teckno how much you don't like the Beast and think it sucks, then I would not reply to it. Since it is between Teckno and Mamoosh, and nothing to do with me.

But if someone starts a general thread asking for opinions about the Beast, you can give yours, and I will give mine, which is what I do anyway.

But Jeff is saying, I don't care about the sources you put on here. Yet someone else asked for them. If you don't care about them, don't look at them, since they were not for intended for his use.

But I do have an issue with him not actually reading the information, and just making posts about the subject matter without any form of support for what he says. If he could give me someone besides him, that is an expert on the subject matter that agrees that roller coasters cause brain injury, I would be more likely to change my opinion and understand his viewpoint.

I just think he just wants to believe what he wants, regardless what others say that know more than him, including me. It is pure ignorance on his part though, to just not ignore the facts I provide, and just form in an opinion without even doing any type of research or reading on the subject matter.

However, it was actually funny for him to say he didn't want my sources, or care about them. I don't know why he thought I posted all those sources for him, they were for the other Jeff. I thougth that was very clear because the other jeff was the one doing the research paper anyway, and asked for them in the first place.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 7:18 PM
Wait, you told me to read your sources, then say they weren't intended for me anyway. You're talking circles.
Sunday, September 18, 2005 7:50 PM

I said I posted the sources for someone else. I said to research the subject at hand so you don't sound like an idiot. You can use whatever sources you want. I was just giving you advice, if you want to continue to discuss the subject in an intelligent manner, that further research was needed on your part, so your up to my level of knowledge.

So saying that there is some risk and ignoring what every other expert in the field says, is stupid. Your a college graduate and an educated person, so act like one. If you want to discuss it further, post why you think it is a risk and give some type of support besides just how you feel. I don't care what you think unless you can somehow relate how you feel to what other experts say also. I still take my stance, that the risk is not there, and that is a fact.

Sunday, September 18, 2005 8:38 PM
Wait, there is risk or there isn't. There is no in between. That's not stupid, that's a fact. Is the risk small? Yeah, of course it is, but saying there is no risk and that there's a small risk isn't the same thing.

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