Jan Johnson’s Pole Vault Safety and Techniques News Letter # 14


Currently, some confusion may exist in the market place regarding the key specifications for the new box collar standard F2949.


Mr Eddie Seese, founding member, and past chairman of the F08.67 Pole Vault Equipment sub committee, recently had this to say about the new rules for increased plant box padding: “I have studied the standard very closely and have been involved with a portion of its development. The specification does a great job of defining terminology and giving labels to the elements of a more protective collar.”


“The ASTM F 2949 is explicit in its intentions to greatly improve plant box safety by padding the most dangerous areas both in and around the planting box. In fact, F2949 is very clear in its intent to minimize all the most dangerous hard surfaces both in and around the plant box area. This is why the standard goes to great lengths to both describe and define exactly where and how much padding can be used.”


Here are the key elements of F 2949 that make it the most protective plant box area possible.

  1. F2949 clearly defines a collar with interior padding (wings) which greatly improves pole vault safety by padding the extremely dangerous hard surfaces in and around the plant box without impeding pole bend or limiting the size of the plant area. These wings also are a solution to the long-standing problem of older flat type collars that commonly slide around from jump to jump along with the landing pit, in that the wings hold the collar in position relative to the sides and rear of the plant box.


  1. F2949 describes a collar with tapered edges around the pole bend cavity, which allows undisturbed pole bend so that no unpadded hard surfaces exist in this area. This also fixes the long-term problem of vaulters wanting to move the landing mats back exposing huge amounts of hard surfaces behind the plant box.



3 F2949 describes shock attenuation specification both around the perimeter of the box and on the interior upper side walls. This specification reduces potential force impacts both into and around the plant box area by 90% through out the entire collar (including the wings). For this reason one of the FI test locations is on a wing.


4. F2949 clearly defines the minimum and maximum distances at the front opening of the plant box and the size and shape of the pole bend cavity. These dimensions are very important when considering the reduction of hard surfaces in this critical area and allowing a suitable opening to plant the pole.


5. F2949 also specifics minimum distances the collar shall extend around the stop board and along the side edges of the plant box.


The padding outlined in the ASTM specification has been extensively developed and tested since 2007.

Early users included :U Washington, San Diego State, Univ of Illinois, Cuesta College, Olivet Nazarene, Santa Barbara City college, Sky Jumpers Vertical , SUNY Cortland, Kutztown Univ. Hagerstown college, Arizona PV academy, San Luis Obispo HS , San Ramon HS , Aqua Fria HS, and Atascadero HS. As a result several important design modifications were incorporated into ASTM F 2949. These included a larger padded area behind the plant box, better shock attenuation, and better stability. In all it is estimated that over 3 million vaults have been completed using box collars with tapered edges and side wall wings with no adverse effects. Currently over 300 high schools and colleges use collars with side wall padding wings. and tapered bend cavity technology.


Below: Old style box collar (does not conform to ASTM specification)

1. No interior wall padding

2. No tappers around bend cavity

3. No padding on interior side walls

4. Does not meet F2949 for shock attenuation (approx 6500HIC)

5. Very poor stability (tends to slide back exposing unwanted hard surfaces behind top of strike plate.

6. Over all size does not meet the specification..



Below: Gill Safety Max Collar conforming to ASTM F2949

1. Interior Padded side walls

2. Tapered pole bend area.

3. 22-23” wide front opening

4. 8” pole rotational space at front of bend cavity

5. 1150 HIC or better

6. Very stable (does not slide back) and leaves no unpadded hard surfaces behind top of strike plate.




Order Now available at VS Athletics.com

Or call 1 800 676 7463

10% Discount code: skyjumpers


Expiration date 6-1-2014