Simpson Shock Doctor Eject Helmet Removal System
Motorcyclists, whether they think about it in these terms or not, are exposed to the risk of certain kinds of injury more than other motorists.
This is true whether they are engaged in some sort of motorcycle racing or just daily motorcycle commuters out there in traffic.
One of the more serious injury types that can occur are spinal injuries to the neck, which are called cervical spine injuries. When that type of injury is suspected — which is basically in nearly all motorcycle crashes involving impact to the head or upper body — and the rider is wearing a helmet, removing the helmet in such a way that the injury is not made worse is critically important.
First responders, emergency medical technicians and paramedics are given training on how to remove a helmet so that further injury is prevented by assuring minimal movement of the head and neck during the procedure.
The proper technique, however, requires two trained rescuers and, depending on the circumstances on the scene, other injuries that may be present and the fit and type of helmet, may be very difficult to execute properly.
Some helmets are now equipped with cheek pads that can be quickly removed by pulling on tabs at the bottom edge of the helmet, which causes the cheek pad attachments to release. This should make removal of the helmet easier, but it would still require proper execution of the helmet removal technique by two rescuers and it may not necessarily make the procedure much easier, depending on the circumstances.
In order to assist rescuers with emergency helmet removal and to increase safety for the helmet wearer, several devices have been developed in recent years to allow the application of a pushing driving force from inside the helmet to move the helmet up off the head with less need for rescuers to apply external pulling force on the helmet, and in turn on the wearer’s head and neck.
One such device is the Shock Doctor Emergency Helmet Removal System. The system works by installation of an inflatable flat-folded bladder in the crown of the helmet under the comfort liner in contact with the EPS impact absorbing material.
Inflation is accomplished by attaching a bulb, such as the type on a blood pressure cuff (not supplied with the device as delivered), to a small flexible tube that runs from the bladder to the exterior of the left side of the helmet.
As the bladder inflates, it pushes the helmet straight off the wearer’s head from the inside, reducing the amount of pulling force applied by the rescuers to the exterior of the helmet, reducing the possibility of unwanted head and neck movement that could worsen a neck injury.
Two rescuers should still be involved to help stabilize the head and neck during the procedure, but reduction or elimination of the use of external pulling force or unintended rotational force on the helmet can reduce the potential for additional twisting or pulling force being applied to the neck, even with a second rescuer trying to immobilize the head and neck.
Installation (images above) is simple and straightforward, but may not necessarily go exactly as described in the instruction sheet, depending on your helmet’s interior padding, size and overall design.
In the case of the Joe Rocket Speedmaster Carbon full-face helmet, we did an installation on, the comfort liner is perfect for easy installation because the liner over the crown and sides of the helmet are not attached to the EPS impact liner and have an opening between them, making it easy to fit the bladder and tubing under the liner. Also, a notch between EPS elements on the side of the helmet forms a nice pathway for the tube to lie in so the inflation connector can clear the bottom of the helmet.
Where our installation differed from the illustrations was not critical to performance of the device, and indeed would probably make it much easier for rescuers to use. The illustration shows the inflation bladder connector being tucked down in the EPS seam so the connector is barely showing at the bottom edge of the helmet.
This could end up requiring the rescuers to manipulate the helmet just to get at the connector. Our installation places the connector outside the EPS with a very short length of tubing outside the helmet, and the connector’s pre-attached hook and loop tab mating with an owner-supplied small adhesive-backed tab of the other half of hook and loop on the bottom of the helmet.
This placement was required to prevent kinking of the tubing inside the helmet due to the tubing length, but it will make the connection easier since the connector can be swung out to any angle to make connection easy without having to move the helmet around.
Installation on a Joe Rocket RKT Prime full-face helmet was similar overall, but access to the EPS impact liner requires unsnapping the comfort liner at the left rear base of the helmet to get the bladder up under the liner on the crown of the helmet because the RKT Prime liner is all connected by black mesh.
The final step of the installation is applying a small bright yellow sticker on the left lower edge of the helmet near the connector that says, “Eject equipped,” so rescuers know the device is installed.
According to the JEGS website, which shows the product information from Simpson, the Eject system is already mandatory in helmets for drivers in three NHRA drag racing classes.
It is either recommended or mandatory in some classes of AMA motorcycle competition, which would seem to speak to the system’s safety and effectiveness from in-use experience—which we can’t do and hope not to. Though this device may be targeted to competition applications in the minds of many, its use in your daily riding helmet could be one way to help increase the chances of an improved outcome when the outcome otherwise may be in doubt.
MSRP is $59.95; for additional information, visit JEGS.