Roller Coasters and Brain Injury:Fact or Fiction

Sunday, September 18, 2005 8:56 PM
Jeff your debating whether something that has a probability of taking place .00000000435 % of the time is a risk. That to me is as small of risk there is, and thus why there is no risk associated with roller coasters and brain injury.

You have to make the cut off somewhere. I mean to some degree there is a risk of brain injury to everything. Would the incident rate have to be in the order of 1 in a trillion or more for you to understand that there is no risk involved? Where is your cutoff value. Basically there is probably not a recreational activity that has not caused one a brain injury, be it walking or playing basketball, or riding a roller coaster. But there were only 20 cases for roller coasters, and several billion rides given.

I just think you have to draw the line somewhere, and make a logical decision on whether something is a risk. I don't think something that is so improbable is a risk. But were arguing over samantics right now and the definition of a risk. I think what we all agree on is that the odds are so small that they are not something to be concerned with. Do you agree with that?

Sunday, September 18, 2005 11:10 PM
Well, if something has the probability of taking place .00000000435 % of the time, then, at some point (more specifically .00000000435 % of the time), it HAS happened at some point or COULD happen at a future point.

You seem like you want to act like you are educated, but that isn't coming thru in your posting. Just because something is not LIKELY to happen does not mean that there is NO RISK. You simply saying that you've researched it, and since there is barely any risk does not mean that there is absolutely no risk. And people say I have a problem with comprehension?

There is no 'line to draw' anywhere. There either is a risk or there isn't. I dont' think you understand the definition of Risk. Here it is from

risk (rsk)
  1. The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger.
  2. A factor, thing, element, or course involving uncertain danger; a hazard.

Notice the words 'possibility' & 'uncertain'. I work in a Hospital. Tonight, I run the risk of someone coming in here with a gun, shooting me in the head, killing everyone in the ER, and then going to the Pharmacy, breaking in, and stealing every ounce of drug kept there. Do I think it is going to happen? I feel that it is unlikely, but I can't be certain.

Jeez, drop it already, you can't argue fact as opinion. Why is that so hard fro some people to understand?

Monday, September 19, 2005 12:30 AM
Beast Fan said:

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.

Can you show me where in the first post Jeff Young asked YOU SPECIFICALLY for info? He did was a general question to all members. So by your definition since this is a general thread all information presented in it is open for discussion.

Face've lost this one.

Monday, September 19, 2005 1:03 AM
But Moosh! You're wrong because I SAID so!
Monday, September 19, 2005 2:14 PM

This thread was not adressed to me, but I think it was quite obvious that my first post where I list the sources was intended for the person who started the thread, Jeff Young. And the Jeff that runs this site is entitled to his opinion just like mine.

However I am not sure he is right and I am wrong though. I suggested him doing some research on the subject and seeing if that changes his mind. I am not sure if he has done that or not, but it was just a suggestion.

I think the main thing I disagree with is your idea that something that happens 1 in 23 billion is a risk. I think we all agree that the odds of having a brain injury are soo small, but I think you have to have a cut off point.

Most things to a certain degree have some probability of taking place. But I think there is a cut of point where you have to be reasonbable and say, this is such a small small chance that its probability of taking place is 0.

I am not sure how much you have studied probability theory or statistics. But I will just gloss over some of the finer points with out going into to much detail.

In inferential statistics you make inferences about the population from the sample data, and based on the assumption of a gaussian distribution of the sampling statistic (such as mean, difference in two means, etc.), make conclusions about the population from the sample data you took.

So say you want to run an experiment and see whether the modulus of elasticity (stiffness) of this new composite material is greater than carbon steel. So you run a test and take 10 data points or so for both carbon steel and your new composite material. You than compare the means and use statistics to find whether one is greater.

Well the way you determine whether the composite material has significantly greater stiffness is you do a hypothesis test and calculate t-value and such using some basic statistics. You then use a t probability distribution and find the probabliity of obtaining a sample like that where the mean was say 5 Mpsi greater for composite material. Well before you did the test you would have an alpha level, which is a cutoff value based on application and practicality. So say your alpha level was a probability of .01 or so.

So if the chance of obtaining a sample where the mean modulus of elasticity was 5 Mpsi greater (with orginal hypothesis that there was no difference in stiffness between composite and steel) was .001; then you would have to reject your orginal hypothesis that there was no difference.

You would accept your alternative hypothesis that your modulus of elasticity was greater for composite material. This is because the chances that the sample was just random and that there really was no difference in modulus of elasitity between the material was so unlikely and improbable you had to go with the other possibility.

So using the same idea for roller coasters, you would have to have your orginal hypothesis that there is no risk involved in suffering brain injury. And the alternative would be that there is a risk involved. This would make sense, since if there was a risk something would have to be done or corrected to lower risk or more research, etc. This would require extra cost and research and time. This way you would have to have conclusive evidence in order to say that it was a risk and something needed to be done.

However I think it is reasonable to think that a probability of .00000000435 is so small that it is not a risk. You have to have a realistic sense of whether something is a risk and needs to be improved. The studies also came with the same conclusion and said that the amusement park industry did not need to have regulation from federal government and the risk of brain injury was not there. I mean where would the cutoff value be if that probability is not small enough? *** Edited 9/19/2005 6:18:18 PM UTC by Beast Fan***

Monday, September 19, 2005 3:04 PM
...but I think it was quite obvious that my first post where I list the sources was intended for the person who started the thread, Jeff Young.

I'll give you a better example: Let's say Tekno started a thread called "What is Dollywood doing in 2007?" Let's say I responded with "Hey Tek, they're doubling the size of their waterpark." Do you mean to tell me that no one else is allowed to discuss my information because I intended it for Tek only?

You really seem to be unable to grasp the concept of a discussion forum. If you intended the information to be for Jeff Young only you should have emailed it to him. Otherwise anything you post here is open to discussion. Conprende?

The studies also came with the same conclusion and said that the amusement park industry did not need to have regulation from federal government and the risk of brain injury was not there.

No, the risk of brain injuiry was determined to be statistically insignificant. That is not the same as not there. You seem to be unable to grasp this concept as well.

*** Edited 9/19/2005 7:06:13 PM UTC by Mamoosh***

Monday, September 19, 2005 3:48 PM
Hello Jeff Young. You'll have to excuse the heated topic you've touched on. It has been a hot topic in the past. Not that topics haven't been heated on this web sight as of lately.

My cousin in Jersey actually did reseach for one of the senators looking to pass legislation on the matter, which I think was dropped after medical experts found no greater brain injury risk than other high intensity activities. At least I think thats how it ended up. My cousin no longer works for the congressman or senator, but if you want his e-mail address I can send it to you.

Monday, September 19, 2005 4:23 PM
I didn't say we could discuss the issue, we are now anyway. But I just thought it was funny for him to say I don't care about the sources you listed, when I posted them for someone else. I did personal message the person and give out my email, but I thought I would do both just in case. Some don't check there personal message stuff on here all the time, and more importantly others might be interested in the sources.

However the Jeff that runs this site, was not interested. Yet why he would have to announce it to me, when it was so obvious that i posted the list of sources I used for someone else is what gets me.

Well they said the risk was not there, I just agreed. If you want to disagree with them go ahead. I just think they might have more knowledge on the subject matter than you. Once again until you have PHD's in bio mechanical engineering or are a well respected brain doctor, I might see your side. However, I will believe those that our and did the study on this subject matter. You don't have to, but I will believe them.

here is a quote from taken from my paper and from one of my sources that I listed above:

According to the chairman of the Brain Injury Association Dr. Gregory O’Shanik, regarding this issue he states, “I think the bottom line, in terms of a public health issue, this is probably not a high priority on the list…The prevention of brain injury in other venues is probably more cost-effective. In terms of magnitude, it doesn’t seem to be there” (Wood 1). *** Edited 9/19/2005 8:24:29 PM UTC by Beast Fan***

Monday, September 19, 2005 4:58 PM
O'Shanik did NOT say there was zero risk...rather that the risk is too low to be considered significant or, in his words, "In terms of magnitude, it doesn't seem to be there."

"Seem" being the key word.

Monday, September 19, 2005 5:21 PM

Once again, I think we are arguing over semantics. I mean if you want, I could go through all my folders and probably find a better quote that does not include the word seem in it. But I think it is a waste of my time and yours, to argue over little things like that. The big picture is that the chances are extremely small. Whether that means there is a risk involved, although extremely rare and minute risk that is ok.

Or if you take my position that you have to draw the line somewhere, and I don't consider something 1 in 23 billion likely enough to consider a risk. I just think if someone or something is at risk, you take preventive action to correct it. They suggested that the risk was not there, and that nothing needed to be done. I interpret that as there is no risk, you seem to say yes there is a risk but a low risk.

So who is right or wrong? I don't know nor care anymore. I will say I am, but I don't have time to argue over little things like he said seem instead of something more definite. *** Edited 9/19/2005 9:21:53 PM UTC by Beast Fan***

Monday, September 19, 2005 5:36 PM
They suggested that the risk was not there, and that nothing needed to be done.

Nope. They suggested that the risk was so insignificantly low that no action needed to be taken. A gamne of semantics? Sure...but in this case the word "seems" makes a world of difference.

So who is right or wrong? I don't know nor care anymore.

I can easily answer that for ya: you're wrong.

Monday, September 19, 2005 6:24 PM
No, he's right.

He loves riding the Beast and now he types stuff like THIS.

Case closed. :)


(who adds: your odds of dying during general anesthesia are roughly 1 in 200--people still get lipo and body work, right?)

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:24 PM
Actually, Moosh, I won't need to ask you what Dollywood is getting 2007 ;).

Jeez, 'Arguing Semantics'? Not hardly. This is a clear case of fact and opinion. The fact is that there is at least some risk of brain injury from riding coasters. It isn't signifigant, so they feel no need for Federal Regulation.

However, last time I checked the dictionary, the words 'insignifigant', 'small', 'microscopic', or any other word you'd like to use to say 'hardly any risk, though some' weren't defined as 'Nothing, none at all, void of anything'.

Take those same odds to Vegas, and people will still bet on it happening at some point.

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:42 PM
You have a greater chance of dying or being injured in a car accident while travelling to an amusement park then you do actually being there and riding the rides. Id assume in a year more people get brain injury from car accidents leaving or coming to a park in a year then they actually do on the rides.. true?
Monday, September 19, 2005 11:44 PM
You are right, but that isn't what we're saying. Just because you aren't likely to have brain damage doesn't mean that you can't get brain damage.

Beast Fan seems to think that Low Odds=not ever going to happen, but last time I checked, no matter how low the odds are, there is always a risk that it will happen.

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:54 PM
I agree with that. Even if its a 1 in 5,000,000 chance( or whatever the chance of it happening is)theres still that *ONE* person it will affect. If it seems like a small cance it is but that could result in up to 15+ people a year getting it considering these are the chances due to how many people ride coasters in a year.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:37 AM
That's exactly our point, Joey. Zero risk is not the same as slight, low, insignificant, etc.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 1:38 AM
Unless you're Beast Fan, where 'slight, low, insignifigant, etc.' = No Risk what so ever.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:55 PM
Here is a passage that might be of interest to some. It is taken from "Roller Coasters, Theme Parks Extraordinarily Safe, According to Two Comprehensive, Scientific Studies"

Dr. Henry explained that he has been an emergency physician for 30 years, and has worked in emergency rooms located near theme parks. "I can assure you absolutely-based on my lifetime experience and research and based upon the work presented here by the AANS and by the experts of Exponent-roller coasters are not a public health risk. Again, I say that with absolute confidence in the medical research."

Just had a little free time and decided to share that. So I think that is what I was saying all along. I just agree with the people that did the research on this two years ago with the two studies. I am not an expert, but read the two studies, and agree with their findings.

Also, Mamoosh, I changed my mind and wanted to find a better quote. I guess I found it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:59 PM
Also there were 20 cases of brain injury, and only 9 were plasible. Meaning that the 9 cases of brain injury might be due to the ride on a roller coaster, or might not. However the other 11 were thrown out by the panel, since they determined other factors caused it.

Considering that the time frame they looked at, there was 3.1 billion rides given. And only 9 plausible cases for all those rides, is why the people conducting the study, said the risk was not there. Dr. Henry did a good job of summarizing the results and the panels views on the issue.


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