Jan Johnson’s Pole Vault Safety and Technique News Letter #9

Feb 1, 2013


ASTM box collar F2949 Specification Development Show and Tell


This award winning specification reduces potential force impacts into and around the plant box by 90%. It assures a 23” front opening and ample space for pole bending. Collars which meet this specification will work with any brand or style of landing pit.


Go to Pole Vault Safety @ fb to view video clips and photos of our 5 years of research and testing that went into its development. Or click the following link:



Specification Development Progression:


Below ~ Prototype #1 Summer 2008

Closed cell packing foam with tape . Use time: 6 months, approx 17000 jumps





Below~ Proto #3 Spring 2009

Styrofoam insulation. Use time: 4 months approximately 10,800 jumps 16” front opening






Below~ Factory #1 proto (spring 2009) comments : poor shock attenuation (7500 HIC) and no tapers around the bend cavity.

18” front opening note addition of Styrofoam as we experiment with more and better padding. .

Use time:6 months approximately 16000 jumps





Prototype #6 Spring 2010 Safety Max with rebonded foam Gill catalog product. 2010-2012

4500 HIC in force impact testing, still sub standard, openings are better. Product is current in use at over 100 schools and clubs.








Below~ Winter 2012: Wider front opening, far better shock absorption – 900 HIC, and better bend cavity angles, extends further under the critical behind the box area for greater protection .


Force Impact notes:

The ASTM playground standard F1292, describes potential force impacts in HIC (Head Injury Criteria). Generally 1500 HIC is the impact level where fatal head injuries begin. HIC levels above 3000 are consistent with 100% certainty of fatality.


Here is a list of HIC scores which relate to pole vault safety:

Rubberized Runway 8100 HIC

Concrete 10 000 HIC

Old style 2” box collar 7100 HIC

6” up interior side wall of front bun section 4500 HIC


A large part of this research was devoted to the development of plant box padding which protected more area at better shock attenuation levels and yet did not interfere with pole planting or bending.