The Life-Saving Legacy of the HANS Device in Motorsport

by AutoExpert   |  25 April, 2024

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Back in the early days of racing, even a minor accident could turn deadly. Take Patrick Jacquemart – 1981, car barely gets dinged, but HE ends up with a fractured skull and fatal brain damage. Messed up, right?

Two of his buddies, a racer and a doctor/engineer, decided enough was enough. They invented the HANS device – basically a shoulder collar that tethers to your helmet. Sounds simple, but it's HUGE. In a crash, it keeps your head and neck from whipping around, which is what often breaks necks and causes those skull fractures.

HANS Device

Problem was, it took YEARS for anyone to care. The racing world was stubborn. Then Dale Earnhardt Sr., NASCAR legend, dies EXACTLY like Jacquemart did in 2001. That finally made everyone sit up and take notice.

HANS Device

Here's where it gets nuts: NASCAR, now mandating the HANS, saw ZERO deaths like that for a whole decade after Earnhardt. Meanwhile, drag strips and smaller tracks, where it wasn't required? Drivers were still dying. Experts estimate the HANS could've saved over 30 of 'em.

It's a bummer it took tragedy to change minds, but damn, this thing WORKS. You gotta wonder how many lives it's saved since. Blows your mind how much one little invention can change everything...

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