Jan Johnson's Pole Vault Safety and Technique News Letter - Issue #5 - 2012


Jan Johnson's Pole Vault Safety and Technique News Letter - Issue #5 - 2012

Sky Jumpers Vertical Sports Club
Pole Vault Safety Certification Board
Atascadero, California
In this issue: Potential Plant Box Area Force Impacts

The analysis of potential force impacts and how they correlate to the probability of head injuries are the key to understanding plant box area padding and the protection it may potentially offer. This document offers an over view of what is currently the norm in pole vaulting plant boxes and the protection that could be gained with a few simple improvements. It has been reported that over 70% of pole vaulters have suffered falls into the plant box. Since 2003 14 catastrophic injuries have resulted into the plant box in HS and college. The plant box is clearly the area of the most danger in pole vaulting.

Below: Data base of all known serious and catastrophic injuries by landing location since 1971. Note how rule changes have affected the data. Off the backs during the 80's, 90's and early 2000's were clearly the result of landing pads that were too short, too narrow and no standard base padding. Certainly asphalt and concrete surrounding these small pits was also a problem. Starting in 2003 these problems have dramatically improved. However, the plant box is still a problem.

Key Force Impact levels for better understanding of protection:
3000 HIC = 100% probability of death
1500 HIC = 5% probability of death
750 HIC = very low probability of serious injury

Below: Force impacts data of various materials and the probability of fatal head injury if such a fall occurred on to a given material .

Below: Injury probabilities as a result of various head impacts.

Below: Samples of typical plant box arrangements with potential force impacts

Sample #1 Azusa Pacific with no collar.

Sample #2 Paso Robles HS with current mandated collar.

Sample #3 Ventura College with very poor collar.

Sample #4 Azusa Pacific with Safety max collar.

Sample #5 Atascadero HS with Soft Pan Retro fit.

Sample 6 Sky Jumpers Soft Pan and Safety Max together.

Below: This type of landing is usually the result of hands slipping of the pole at take off. Typically the vaulter only falls from 3 or 4 feet. Thus the force impact is usually not catastrophic.

Below: Several worse landing case scenarios. These landing positions although far
less common than hand slip offs usually result in sever injury.

Above: Kasey Burlingham NCAA D-2 champion (17'9") note how inner padding helps
to keep him from sinking into the bend cavity in this worse case scenario landing.

Previous newsletters may be viewed at skyjumpers.com.

For more information contact Jan Johnson
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Please visit skyjumpers.com for 2012 camp dates.

For all your pole vault equipment needs please visit




Sky Jumpers Summer Pole Vault Camps Since 1974

Centerville, Oh June 17-20, 2012

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point June 24-27, 2012

SJVSC Atascadero, Ca. July 9-12, 2012

Kutztown, Ca July 19-22, 2012

SJVSC Atascadero, Ca. Dec 28-30 2012

Directed By Jan Johnson

MS Biomechanics

Former World Record Holder, Olympic Bronze medalist, National Safety Chair


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