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Experts Question the Safety of Formula One (F1) World Champion Michael Schumacher's Helmet Camera

A French journalist recanted comments he made regarding the GoPro camera that was attached to the helmet Michael Schumacher was wearing when he was injured in a December skiing accident. Jean-Louis Moncet had suggested that the Formula One driver’s brain injury may have been made worse by the camera, said the New York Post (10.13.14).

The GoPro Cam was mounted on Schumacher’s helmet when he fell and struck his head on a rock while skiing in the French Alps. Schumacher was left in a medically-induced coma for nearly six months following the accident.

Doctors had previously said that Schumacher would not have survived the skiing accident if he had not been wearing his helmet, as Autosport reported in December 2013.

It is well established that helmets clearly work to reduce injuries and fatalities among skiers, bike riders, motorcyclists and others. The question now is whether or not the GoPro camera really weakened Schumacher’s helmet. Experts have previously weighed in on the likelihood of wearable cameras weakening the helmets they are mounted on.

It is thought that a camera would not alter the structural integrity of the helmet. However, if an accident occurred and the camera was the first point of impact, the helmet’s shell may become compromised. The solid helmet attachment could become a penetrating object. The object may also inhibit a helmet’s ability to absorb, move or function correctly in the event of an impact.

Tests have been carried out on helmets where a GoPro camera was mounted and experts are still working on more tests to find out if a camera can indeed weakened the helmet.

While riders can fit a Go Pro or similar camera to their helmet via a clamp, suction cup or tape, it is strongly unadvised to secure anything to a helmet by drilling holes. Holes would almost certainly compromise its safety integrity.

In cases where a defective helmet can be linked to a death or an injury, the manufacturer may be responsible. Issues that would cause a helmet to be defective include poor design, faulty lining or padding, negligent manufacturing and problems with the shell of the helmet.

Schumacher woke from his coma in June.

He is a seven-time Formula 1 champion. Schumacher won world titles (1994 – 1995, 2000 – 2004) during his racing career. He officially retired from the sport in 2012.

The New York Post article cited is “GoPro sinks on report helmet cam worsened skier’s injury.”


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