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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2001 3:01 pm 
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The 2001 Daytona 500

I watched the race this past Sunday. I thought how very fortunate it was that Tony Stewart did not have fatal injuries when his car became airborne in the 19 car pileup near the end of the race.

However, two hours after the race ended, I was shocked to hear of the death of Dale Earnhardt. I saw the crash on the last lap and the rescue workers attempting to remove him from the car. The fact that no movement was coming from the car was frightening to me. I knew the injuries were going to be serious but I was not ready to accept death.

I am not one of Dale's fans but I admired his tenacity and talent immensely. Race fans will miss him very much.

As a racing fan, I want to see a good race with everyone competing fiercely but death should not be an outcome of the competition.

Racing at 180+ MPH without the head and neck restraints is a blatant disregard of safety. Nascar recommended that drivers use the HANS (head and neck safety device), but did not require them to do so.
Only 4 drivers chose to wear the HANS devices.

The debate will go on and on whether this HANS would have saved Dale’s life. Certainly, we know one thing. Dale did not even give it a chance to prove if it could have worked.

Full speed sparring without the proper protective equipment is also disregarding safety. In tournaments you are not allowed to compete without it.

We can learn a lesson from this tragic incident. While sparring in the dojo, if you want to step up your level of competition or if you are doing scenario training, please wear the proper protective equipment (CUPS INCLUDED). As least give it a chance to diminish the injuries.



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Len Testa


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2001 4:08 pm 
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A tough issue for certain...

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LenTesta:

I watched the race this past Sunday. I thought how very fortunate it was that Tony Stewart did not have fatal injuries when his car became airborne in the 19 car pileup near the end of the race.

However, two hours after the race ended, I was shocked to hear of the death of Dale Earnhardt. I saw the crash on the last lap and the rescue workers attempting to remove him from the car. The fact that no movement was coming from the car was frightening to me. I knew the injuries were going to be serious but I was not ready to accept death.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't consider myself a "fan" of any sport, but we got together with friends and watched the 500... Being from NC, I've done some amateur "roundy-round" racing and the friend we watched the race with is my chief mechanic for road and drag racing, so everyone there had an appreciation for the nuances the driving sports require. We were pleasantly surprised that there weren't any injuries in the pile-up 25 laps from the end, but when they showed the rescue team working to extricate Dale and later the ambulance leaving, we were all quiet... we didn't have to be told, we already knew he was gone. Anyone who has raced, seen the accidents and watched the work (or been the fortunate beneficiary of the work) of the emergency crews could tell because all the subtle clues were there.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
As a racing fan, I want to see a good race with everyone competing fiercely but death should not be an outcome of the competition.


If you get a chance, watch the replay of Dale's accident... He died the way he drove... agressively. He backed-off to hold-up the pack and insure the victories of Micheal (who's car was owned by Dale) and Dale Jr. By slowing back into the pack, he created a bunched up group all vying for the same space... about the most dangerous situation in racing. He knew what he was doing and made the decision to do it. If he'd have pulled it off, it would have been yet another example of his expertise behind the wheel. Unfortunately, this time he messed up.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Racing at 180+ MPH without the head and neck restraints is a blatant disregard of safety. Nascar recommended that drivers use the HANS (head and neck safety device), but did not require them to do so.
Only 4 drivers chose to wear the HANS devices.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

From the information I've seen, slightly less than half the field (of 43 cars) were wearing the HANS device. (Some say that this is why there weren't any major injuries in the big pile-up...) It is much the same as the change over in hockey to a required helmet (and face-guard for goalies). Some drivers feel it inhibits their movement too much, causing them impaired visibility and creating an unsafe condition. In fact, in CART racing, the HANS has actually been blamed for accidents when a driver didn't see another car because of the device.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
The debate will go on and on whether this HANS would have saved Dale’s life. Certainly, we know one thing. Dale did not even give it a chance to prove if it could have worked.


It was his life and his choice. NASCAR isn't held liable for the death and neither is anyone else. It was a death from a sporting accident. Last year, more lives were lost on high-school football fields than in NASCAR. Some sports are dangerous and the participants in those sports know the dangers and make their choices accordingly to their personal beliefs.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Full speed sparring without the proper protective equipment is also disregarding safety. In tournaments you are not allowed to compete without it.


The reasons why are different. The promotors of the tournaments, being concious of the lawsuit liabilities, require the equipment... even though the participants also know the risks and sign liability waivers. However, comparing the Daytona 500 with most karate tournaments isn't really accurate. A more accurate comparison would be to compare NASCAR with full-contact karate and the Daytona 500 with the world championships of full-contact karate. In full-contact, there is limited protective equipment... and there have been deaths.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
We can learn a lesson from this tragic incident. While sparring in the dojo, if you want to step up your level of competition or if you are doing scenario training, please wear the proper protective equipment (CUPS INCLUDED). As least give it a chance to diminish the injuries.


Good advice to anyone... and an understandable mandate from the perspective of school owners, instructors, and tournament promoters. However, that mandate comes from an agreement within private enterprise. Currently, the push is on for Federal regulation of NASCAR to require the use of the HANS device! This would be the equivalent of saying that an injury occurred at a tournament last year (it did, IIRC) and therefore, NOW the Government is here to tell you how to run the tournament.

There are just inherent risks in driving an automobile around a track at an average speed of 185 mph! (Dale actually hit the wall doing ~190 mph on the acceleration out of turn four...) The drivers know what safety devices are available and make their own decisions while putting their life on the line. Their life, their decision... I don't think I'd have it any other way. (Personally, I have as much safety equipment as possible, but that's just my choice...)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2001 7:05 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
The reasons why are different. The promotors of the tournaments, being concious of the lawsuit liabilities, require the equipment... even though the participants also know the risks and sign liability waivers. However, comparing the Daytona 500 with most karate tournaments isn't really accurate. A more accurate comparison would be to compare NASCAR with full-contact karate and the Daytona 500 with the world championships of full-contact karate. In full-contact, there is limited protective equipment... and there have been deaths.


I was supposed to include the UFC and the Vale Tudo tournaments in the previous post. However I left them on the word processor when I copied and pasted. Image

Rather than edit the previous post here is the left out paragraph in blue text.

<font color="blue">The Ultimate Fighting Championships and the Vale Tudo are two tournaments that have limited protection equipmemnt requirements.
To eliminate the potential deaths of fighters in these tournaments there should be more required protective equipment worn by the contestants.</font>


BTW...My dojo mate, Joe Pomferet, is fighting in an upcoming tourney. I hope there is some required protection equipment for them to wear.

I was devistated when I heard about Dale's death and I have never met the man!

It would be more tragic for me to have to deal with a serious injury to someone that I have taught and worked out with.




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Len Testa


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2001 11:00 pm 
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Interesting points. The NHB tournament isn't sanctioned or governed by any organization or laws. The category sort of slipped between the legislative cracks.

All well, until the first serious accident and resulting lawsuits. At this point, the government will jump in with both feet.

NHB events will probably be grouped into the boxing association with their rules. This will essentially kill the sport.

No question the participants risk serious injury or death when they sign on for these events. I'm sure our legal experts will have a field day trying to explain how in the hell the promoter was able to pull it off.

What liability do the sponsors/promoters/site have in this case? Probably a lot more than they would like.

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GEM


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2001 2:50 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gmattson:

What liability do the sponsors/promoters/site have in this case? Probably a lot more than they would like.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And one of the reasons that this type of fighting has been done off-shore, in foreign countries, or "underground" for centuries prior to the current rise in popularity. I've yet to figure out what changed that allowed this to come out in the open in this country. This type of fighting has been done in some other countries right along, but not here... until now. Hmmmmm... any ideas?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2001 3:13 pm 
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MMA is a lot less dangerous than boxing...a lot less.

First of all, most Professional MMA bouts at this point require some sort of protective gear: Gloves, a steel cup (like those used in Muay Thai), and a mouthguard. There are some Vale Tudo matches which don't even require that much.

But...in the history of MMA as a modern sport, there haven't been many deaths. I'm only aware of one, though it's concievable that I missed one or two out there.

MMA matches spend most of their time in grappling/groundfighting range. The contestants simply don't get hit as often as they do in boxing or kickboxing type events.

There is also the tap...unlike boxing, in MMA there's no shame in quitting. If you're getting hammered, or worse, you're locked up...then you're done. No one faults you for not just taking that busted arm.

There are several professional MMA organizations/promoters in existance. These aren't all underground "cage matches" or some other such nonsense. The sport is evolving into just that...a sport.

Is MMA dangerous? No question. Should safety gear be used...surely it should.

But, given the very low number of deaths in the sport so far, I think it's unfair to assume they need lots more equiptment. Any sport with hard contact poses a risk. That's the nature of the game.

Food for thought

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Jake Steinmann
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www.tonyblauer.com
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that here obident to their laws we lie
- Inscription at the site of Thermopylae


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