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One of our drivers has banged his ribs up, no accidents or anything, just hurt in the kart.

We've since padded his seat up which allowed him to race a week after initially hurting them and he got through the race.

A week later he is still sore.

Is there anything we can do to speed the healing process?  How long after it stops hurting do we need to keep him out of the kart for?

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The Ribtect is obviously a quality seat that at least appears better shaped and therefore likely to be more supportive than most others I've seen or sat in. They are also quite costly, more than my meagre karting budget will comfortably allow. I haven't ever seen one, or if I have never noticed it. I've certainly never inspected one closely. I have seen photos and heard good reports.

Having said that, they don't appear to do what my seat extension does, and that is to move load onto the upper shoulders and therefore away from the rib cage (at best just loading the rib cage more evenly, which may or may not be all that's needed). Besides, if I were to consider buying one I'd have to at least sit in one first, and select the correct size. To do that I'd need to find the closest Ribtect dealer, which would I expect be several hundred km away either in Newcastle or Sydney, and I simply don't have the spare time to do that. I've already made the seat extension, I'll give it a chance to fail before I consider trying any other option.



Tom Bawden said:

Or you could just get a ribtect seat..

I use a Ribtect seat in my karts and they are very good. However, you can still bruise or break your ribs using one. I have an airbag taped insider my Bengio rib protector. Not only does it help protect from further injury, it also allows you to drive whilst the injury is healing. My airbag is just a Snap on dent puller (pusher?) It is around 250mm square and can be inflated with a hand pump and valve (much like a blood pressure tester) Hope that helps.... it certainly does me! Cheers, Neil


Glad your vest plus 'airbag' solution is working for you. But what you say ("you can still bruise or break your ribs using one" i.e. a Ribtect seat) does suggest that the underlying problem with kart seats generically is that no matter how well they fit or evenly they spread the load over the ribs, the load is still being applied entirely on the rib cage, largely because the top of the seat is relatively low (finishing somewhere beneath the armpits).

Considering that much of the upper body mass is substantially higher than the top of the seat, then the force acting on this higher body mass must effectively be leveraged onto the ribs, increasing the force seen at the rib cage (so the lower the seat top and the bigger your head the bigger the problem may be...). The higher the top of the seat the less leverage of force there must be, so the less force acting on the ribs (apart from load simply being taken by another part of the body).

I recall reading somewhere or other that when a driver is being fitted for a custom seat (for use in say a formula car, or any car capable of generating very high lateral G force), that the idea is to make the seat so that little or no load is applied to the side of the rib cage, for the very reason that rib damage may well occur. Instead, the seat should be formed so that lateral load on the torso is mostly taken on the shoulders (at least that's my understanding). This is more or less the aim of my seat modification, as far as is reasonably possible.

Re questions of legality, reading the rules pertaining to seats, it occurs to me that if the only permissible items allowed to be bolted to the seat are ballast weights and batteries, then seat braces are technically illegal...?



It’s been 10 days now I have injured my ribs and I am curious how much did it take you to heal?

Dou you have again problems in your fist sessions?

How long is a piece of string? A lot will depend on exactly what the injury is. Is it just bruising? Or, is it more serious cartilage damage? How old is the patient? (injuries can take a lot longer to heal as you get older, and the healing may not be as good).

From my personal experience I wouldn't get back in the kart if I could still feel any twinges at all in my ribs, and then not for at least a month after the ribs feel 100% OK (I've re-injured my ribs in only a handful of practice laps when getting back in the kart as soon as the ribs felt 100%).

The thing is that after a significant rib cage injury, the rib cage may never be as strong again, the 'healed' injury probably becomes a weak point. Every time I've subsequently hurt my ribs it was in the same place as the first time I initially injured them, and each time it seemed to take less to cause the damage. 

At the very least a good rib protector vest is very advisable. Farther back in this old topic I mentioned that I made a custom seat extension. At the time of writing that post I hadn't actually tested or raced with the extension, but since then I have. It works very well, taking a great deal of load off my lower ribcage and redistributing it onto my upper ribcage and to the sides of my shoulders.

Driving the kart I can allow my upper body to 'lean' into the seat extension, which also means that there is far less need to tension my lower torso, so I'm having to exert less energy just to hold my body in position. So, I am far more relaxed in the seat when driving the kart, and so am significantly less tired out toward and by the end of a practice session or race. Using the seat extension I've had zero rib issues, even on a track with rather nasty mid corner bumps. 



Thanks for the reply John, I will try to stay off even when my ribs feel 100%

D you have envy photo of the modification you have done?

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