Bombshells crowned Intra-League champions

Spectators rolled up to Cambridge Park last Saturday for a Derby in Wonderland grand final showdown between the B-52 Bombshells and the Blackheart Brawlers.

First up in the line up, some fierce and feisty under 18’s took to the track for a junior derby mini bout. The audience may have been lulled into thinking that the pint-sized action would be easy going but they were soon proven wrong! The Cheshire Cats took victory from The Mad Hatters, 179 to 69.

   

The mini bout fun continued with the Riot Squad battling visiting team, The Empire. The intra-league team fought hard but chaos was the order of the night – The Empire claimed the win, 171 to 65.

   

Then, the highlight of the night when last year’s rival grand final teams faced off again. It was a fast-paced, action filled game but the Bombshells were left grinning like; well, a Chesire cat, when they took out the title, 192 to 78.

   

Of course, there was plenty of fun in between too with delicious cakes, doughnuts, chocolates and biscuits on offer – as well as amazing raffle prizes and a spot of duck throwing (rubber, no animals were harmed in the making of this derby spectacular!).

Thanks to everyone who came to cheer on their favourite players and teams, and for supporting Western Sydney Rollers. A massive congratulations to our victors and well done to everyone who played, and a warm thanks for our NSOs and refs for their hard work.

Stay tuned for more exciting bout action later in the year!

Psst…Check out more action in the photos on facebook, thanks to B.T. Photography.

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Over $1000 donated to beyondblue in Halloween bouting spooktacular

Friends, family and members of Western Sydney Rollers had a frighteningly good time on Sunday 30 October – enjoying a triple header Halloween bout to raise awareness and donate funds for beyondblue.

The spooktacular event kicked off with the tiny but fearsome juniors – the Tiny Terrors beating the Halloweenies 165 to 110.

A bout with a difference (zombie players aside) followed with a specially modified rules ramping up the excitement for the players and crowd alike. As the carnage on the track unfolded, the crowd got a say in the play.

Gold coin donations could remove favourite players from the penalty bin, players could be sponsored to don fancy dress items over their Halloween garb (ever tried skating in a grass skirt?) and, to really take things up a notch, for $20 you could watch the action in anti-derby direction.

The nail biting bout continued to the final minutes with The Munsters victorious over The Addams Family, 146 to 125.

The final bout saw a return to standard derby rules but threw an extra element in with the WSR boys joining the girls on the track for a co-ed frenzy which saw the Lycans take the final win for the night from the Vampires, 167-56.

Other activities throughout the night included some fierce competition in the fancy dress stakes – including the world’s cutest Pokemon, a raffle and of course, the ever present and delicious bake sale.

A total of $1151 will be donated to beyondblue, an organisation equipping everyone in Australia with the knowledge and skills to protect their own mental health.

3 three million Australians live with depression or anxiety

If you or anyone you know needs support or advice call beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au

View photos from the junior derby bout, The Addams Family v The Munsters, and the Lycans v Vampires – massive thanks to Bout Time Imagery!

Deaf’n’Derby

Deaf and Derby- it sounds catchy right? Sure it does, let’s try it again Deaf’an’Derby. C’mon say it quicker. Deaf’n’Derby.

Yeah okay it doesn’t seem to matter how cool you try and make it sound, it never comes out right. Geddit it – sounds right? Ha okay, I’ll stop with the puns. Maybe…

So last time you heard from me was about a year ago – I’d been skating for about a year – and I spoke about the tribulations of playing as a deaf skater. I’ve now skated for another year, and there’s been fun, many games, there have been a couple of obstacles, and there’s been a hell of a lot more blood, sweat and tears since.

I’ve discovered some important stuff for my playing capabilities. I found that for me, personally, lane 1 is an absolute stinker. It’s the equivalent of blindfolding someone and perhaps tying an arm behind their back just for fun. Other than that track placement doesn’t seem to bother me too much.

My team and I have tried a few different ways to communicate- and in the heat of the game it turns out that signs just don’t work so well – at least not for us. What I do find works best, and strangely I imagine that it works best for those of you with full hearing too, is calm talking.

It’s decisive, it’s directional and it can be loud; but not screechy like a feral galah. This seems to work best for me. It allows my brain to interpret what needs to be done, rather than have to decipher what “OMGLANE1LANE1NO!LANE4THEJAMMERISONLANE4” means. Oh yeah it’s fun.

What has become easier is being able to tell people, “Hey yeah, I’m deaf. I might need a bit of help when it comes to this, and that.”

I’m still not good at reminding my coaches to do it though. For me, it’s an awkward conversation to have, so I hate having it. Some people who know me well know that I hate talking about being deaf. HATE IT!

Anyways, because I’ve had the conversation before, I hate the idea of having to have it again to remind my coaches that “Hey! Don’t forget you need to have ‘that’ conversation with the refs at the captains meeting.” I know it shouldn’t be a difficult thing but it’s something I’m working on.

Good news is; I’m okay with telling someone new. It seems that there is a right way for me to have that conversation, and a wrong way. The right way is a private conversation where I can just go over what I need to in relation to called penalties and being addressed in the box (not that I’m ever in there…much). The bad way is where I’m forced to announce it in front of everyone where it makes me feel…embarrassed.  No one likes to be singled out. I hate that kind of attention; coupled with the fact that I don’t want to be treated as special. I just want to know when to go to the naughty corner, and when I can leave. That’s all 🙂

Playing as a deaf skater has meant that there have been other things to work on, along with the usual learning progression but thankfully I have wonderful people in my league who have been with me every step of the way.

It’s meant that I’ve learnt that going out with a plan is so much better than winging it. I mean that sounds like common sense but seriously…a plan! Those jams where I’ve been thrown out at the last second, and I don’t know what’s happening – I don’t know what wall formation, who’s assisting, or even what lane I’m going into – can really leave me feeling lost out on the track. I’ve been told that sometimes you don’t know this stuff, you just have to react. Well, all I can say is; right now…without that, I can only do the best I can, because without being able to hear your hastily thrown instructions, quite often from 10ft away, I’ve got nothing. Absolutely nothing!

So if you’re like me, and you’re deaf and you want to strap on some skates and play some derby – do it! Yes, it’s going to take some patience. Yes, you’re going to have to speak up on what you need. You’re going to have some fun.

Buckle up kiddo – you’re going to have one hell of a ride!

The Ten Funnest Things About Derby

This article was first published in Derby Oz magazine. 

danger

Photo by Smasharazzi

The Ten Funnest Things About Derby.

To describe Roller Derby as, “a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track…” et cetera, et cetera, which is what you’ll find on Wikipedia, really doesn’t give an outsider any insight into why Roller Derby is the fastest-growing sport in the world. It’s not just the gameplay that makes it amazing, it’s the “aura of Derbyness” around our great sport that makes it so phenomenal and so unique. This author decided to pinpoint what are, in her humble opinion and in no particular order, the ten funnest things about Roller Derby.

We have cool names. I love words. It’s why I like to write. Words can be clever, insightful, cutting, witty, suggestive, and sometimes all those things at once. So when I found out that the manager of my son’s rugby league team was not always called Mike, but sometimes called Dirty Menace, it was like a compass finding North. With our Derby names, we get to live out a little bit of fantasy that most of us don’t get to embrace in our day-to-day lives. For instance, I get to be a Hogwarts student (a really smart one at that). Derby names can make me nod my head in “hell yeah” admiration at their cleverness, or laugh out loud at their wittiness. Our alter egos are not something that “mainstream” sports embrace, and I realise it’s not something every league, or every skater, agrees with, but I love the fact that we have them. It makes us special, and it shows the world that we’re just a little bit clever really.

We play dress-ups. Let’s face it – Derby outfits are the best sporting attire going. Personally I’m not into tutus, but if that’s your scene, then I say TUTU IT UP WARRIOR PRINCESS! My team’s uniform consists of a sexy skate dress that I would NEVER wear in public otherwise. The rest of what we wear is up to us. Yes, some of us love fishnets, some of us don’t. Some of us have stage makeup, and some of us prefer to go mainstream – like our unique names, it’s not everyone’s scene. If you want to wear compression tights, like a hard-core elite athlete, do it. But some Derby girls want to have a bit of fun with what they wear on the track, and if they’re willing to risk a little fishnet burn, then good for them. And, by the way, you ALL look hot, no matter what you’ve got on your bod.

We are for everyone. I’m pretty sure my league is not unique in the fact that we accept, and embrace, people from all walks of life. Derby does not care what colour your skin is, what your background is, or your sexual orientation. We do not care if you are tattooed or a clean-skin, a bogan or a socialite. If you want Derby to be for you, it’s for you, and in this era when demographers try to pigeonhole us as much as they possibly can, I for one find Derby’s inclusiveness like a breath of fresh air.

We respect differences. I’ve seen fresh meat who seem to take to Derby like a duck to water. I struggled for almost a year before I mastered a Tomahawk stop, and seeing fresh meat who master it in a few weeks makes me just a teeny bit green with envy. But the fact is, Derby doesn’t care. Derby will embrace the girls who get it right the first time, and it will also be patient with the ones who take a little longer. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to pass your basic skills test. If you want to be here, we want you, and we respect you all the more for never giving up.

We are free-thinkers. Now, this is not based on any scientific evidence, but it seems to me, from my short time in the Derby world, that our little community is a teensy bit more intellectual, more inclusive, and more progressive than the rest of the community at large. I know that I can express an opinion, related to Derby, politics, or life, and even if it’s not agreed with, my opinion is respected, and an intelligent discussion can ensue. Maybe I’ve seen too many trolls on the Interwebs, but yeah, it seems to me that Derby peeps are pretty cool that way, and are way smarter than the average bear.

We knock the snot out of each other, and are best friends afterwards. We take our sport seriously. I laugh at the nay-sayers (most of whom have never seen a derby bout) who think that Derby is not a “real” sport, that our sport is akin to entertainment wrestling. I challenge anyone to tell a Derby girl to deliberately lose a bout. I promise you, it’ll be the last thing you say before your jaw is wired shut from the high block you’ll receive. We can have immense love, respect and friendship for one another off the track – even as we’re waiting for that whistle at the jammer line – but you better believe it girlfriend, on the track I’m putting my body on the line to make sure I beat you. And afterwards? Afterwards, it’s back to free-flowing, unadulterated, pure-as-the-driven-snow Derby Love.

We have amazeballs fans, volunteers, refs and NSOs. I love our support crew. After every scrimmage, and every bout, I try to thank every volunteer and ref I see. Because they’re not doing it for the fame, the glory or the money. They’re doing it because they love Derby, and because they want to give their time so we can skate. How awesome is that? And, in return, if we can give them the most amazing spectator sport ever conceived, well I for one think that is a fantastic trade.

We have the ultimate stress relief. I never would have said this before I started Derby, but I love getting hit. The idea of actual fisticuffs scares me to tears (as opposed to Feisty Cuffs, who’s an awesome ambassador for our sport), but on the track? BRING IT. When one of our league’s big hitters slams into me, and I maintain my balance, seriously, YOU HAVE MADE MY DAY. I love that feeling of power being expelled against me, almost as much as I love the feeling of expelling all my power against my opposition. And if I can help our team score a point or two in the process, then even better. Even when I don’t feel like going to training, I make sure I go, because whatever monkey has stolen my mojo, I can be sure that a few big hits given and received will send that primate back to the jungle where it belongs.

We get to look cool, even if, secretly, we know we’re not. OK, here’s a confession. I’ve never been a cool kid. I’m a bit like my namesake, Hermione, who only became cool because she got accepted into Hogwarts, and even then was outstandingly dorky to her fellow wizards. I only became cool when I got accepted into Derby. And I’m sure some of the chicks in my league are going, “WTF, she’s so not cool.” Yeah, I know I’m not. But everyone outside of Derby thinks I’m cool just because I play it. And, to me, that’s pretty bloody funny, because I’ve never been allowed to hang out with the cool kids, until now.

We get to wear wheels on our feet.  This one speaks for itself really! We get to go really really fast! It’s like a roller-coaster, only people are hitting you. Hell yeah! The first time I managed to skate without falling, I felt like I was flying, and it was awesome! And you know what? When I get a bit of speed up, I STILL feel like I’m flying! Why would anyone do a sport in sneakers? It really baffles me.

We have after-parties. Yes, I know this is the eleventh item in my list of top ten funnest things about Derby. But really, even if you can’t forgive my appalling disregard for numbers, who doesn’t love an after-party? My league gets to patronise our amazing sponsor, the Colonial Hotel at Werrington, (yes, this is a blatant plug for the best pub in Western Sydney), the Colonial staff get to wear league t-shirts, and we all enjoy a great meal, have a few drinks, reminisce about some great bouts, and strengthen those bonds of Derby love. Any sport with an after-party as part of the official program has got to be a fantastic way to spend a Saturday night.

Rolling with Axel – A personal account of derby life after spawn by Pixiematosis.

First off, this isn’t a blog about what to do after producing offspring or strict recommendations for returning to derby, it’s just my story. The main reason for not writing a “how to” is that if there is one thing I have learnt it’s that there is no “right way” to do things when it comes to a new baby. Every tiny human is different in their needs and mum’s recovery may be totally different to mine.

Axel was born on Boxing Day at around 1 in the afternoon. He was 3145g and 51cm long. Delivered via Mighty Vac (yep that’s exactly what it sounds like) and I was given a recovery time around 4-6 weeks. In that first week after spawn, I started to assess myself for getting back to my derby fitness. Everything had gone squishy, my tummy felt like jelly and I was struggling to open jars and stuff, so I was thinking I had a fair bit of work ahead of me. There was also the other thing, stitches, ick. That had a healing time of up to 4-weeks. So I’d determined not to think about my fitness again until Axel was 4-weeks old.

20141227_145201_resized_1 Look at the cute. Look at it! 

That was probably for the best, any fluid from around my tummy was disappearing and my core wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. With some more settled sleeping patterns I was feeling stronger too. Whenever possible I got Axel in the stroller and went for a walk around the block and this seemed to do both of us plenty of good. TIP #1 BE PAITENT, LET YOUR BODY RECOVER IN ITS OWN TIME.

In that first month I started to really question my ability to go back to derby. Axel seemed to need to feed constantly. I felt like I was trapped on the couch with no hope of getting up for sandwich let alone a few hours of training time. If Axel wasn’t feeding, he was screaming and I definitely felt like a bit of a failure at this mum thing. But things seemed to level out a bit and we were slowly getting into a routine. TIP #2 PERSERVERE, A ROUTINE WILL COME.

20150111_141914_resized_1 Awwwww, tiny baby sleeping Axel.

My first big derby test was attending a committee meeting in week 3. I tried expressing for a bottle feed for the first time. Oh my glob! FREEDOM!!! Not only could I keep Axel happily fed in the middle of a meeting I could actually hand over the reins to someone else (Dobie you’re my hero). TIP #3 BOTTLES ARE FANTASTIC, LET SOMEONE ELSE FEED BUBS AND ENJOY SOME GROWN UP TIME.

I got a chance to head to a team social at the beginning of week 4. I turned up looking totally frazzled and I kind of desperately asked my fellow mummy teammates for advice. I must have sounded so pathetic “Is this normal?” “Why won’t he do …?” “How long did your babies feed for?” I got a fair few knowing smiles and also plenty of hints and tips. Things didn’t seem so terrible after all. Soon after I’d figured out my offspring had dairy and egg protein sensitivity and it was causing him plenty of gas pains and I also got him soothing himself with a dummy. Hallelujah. TIP #4 MUM WISDOM IS PRICELESS. SERISOUSLY, JUST HEAR EVERYONE OUT AND SEE IF IT HELPS.

In our 5th week together I thought it was time to start thinking about strapping on skates. I’d been cautioned by fellow derby mumma Leese Lightning to take it easy when returning to training. She warned me about the relaxin hormone that takes months to leave your body after pregnancy. Sure it allows your body to give birth, but it also increases your risk of sprains and injuries so that is something to think about, lest you end your derby career before you even get back to it. TIP #5 RELAXIN, IT’S A THING. GOOGLE IT BEFORE HEADING BACK TO DERBY.

20150128_175618_resized Shhhh, the Pixie is sleeping.

First I thought I would check out my core strength. I started off doing sit-ups, push-ups, planks and squats in small reps at first and then slowly building up. I found I could do the minimum skill level before too long, but it certainly wasn’t as easy as it used to be. Seeing as I could get to minimum endurance, I wanted to go to the next step. Skating. I decided to start back with our fresh meat

group. There was no pressure from my trainers to do this, I just wanted to because I didn’t feel stable or strong enough to jump into full contact training. Yet.

My first training session back on skates I left Axel with my mummsy and I attempted to complete 1 hour of training. We completed the 5-minute laps, admittedly I took it a bit easy but I only completed 21 laps. I was crushed, I’m no speedster but I hadn’t been that slow since fresh meat. TIP #6 SEE TIP #5. NO SERIOUSLY RELAXIN IS A THING! IT WILL MAKE YOUR LEGS FEEL LIKE JELLY WHILE YOU’RE SKATING. TAKE YOUR TIME AND BE CAREFUL!

For my next training sesh I brought the little guy with me. There were plenty of people just dying for a cuddle from Axel. I’d barely rolled him in the door before he was swaddled, fed, burped and tucked up into his pram for a sleep (Love you Bella). At first I was like “Oh you don’t have to…” but then I saw people really, sincerely, genuinely wanted to help. TIP #7 IT TAKES A VILLAGE OR A ROLLER DERBY LEAGUE TO RAISE A CHILD (JUST GO WITH IT).

1423781542058_resized Axel with his mumma

So that’s pretty much our first 6-weeks. My next blog will be covering up to 12-weeks. I hear 12-weeks is a magical time where babies settle down a bit and learn heaps of new stuff. I wonder if that means he can start changing his own nappies and stuff. That would be most excellent. Until next time, have a good one.

Pixie.

OMG I still don’t have a derby name!!!

It’s been 12 wonderful months since I joined the derby community and now that I’m on the cusp of stepping up and into the bouting world, I’m freaking out a lil about not having a derby name.

As a freshie, the last thing on your mind is choosing a name. Mostly you’re just trying to stay upright and remembering to pick a cheek when you fail to do that.

As time goes on and your legs obey without thinking, you start to get serious and think about upgrading equipment, you’re now committed and in love with the sport. You start to develop a derby persona and focussing on the tests ahead, your motivation moves to the childish excitement of moving up a level and the prospect of hitting your fellow freshies!

Now is the time when the seeds of potential derby names that have been planted throughout the freshie phase, start to ripen and take shape.

When you finally move up a level, the reality that you can do this sport and that you can bout starts to sink in, and (if you haven’t already inherited a name), you begin to get serious about choosing a derby name.

It’s a derby rite of passage we all go through and one that we all enjoy immensely.

But what happens if you can’t find one that fits?

There is always the hope that one of your team mates will help you out and you’ll accidentally find yourself with a derby name.

You might even have a favourite band or song or celebrity name that you want to make derby worthy. Playing with words is a heap of fun – Eddie Van-Nailem, Bitchy and Scratchy – all it takes is a good imagination.

If you’re not so creative or need something to get you started, there are a tonne of derby name generators out there to give you a helping hand.

Here’s a couple to get you started:

http://rumandmonkey.com/widgets/toys/namegen/10568/#.VMBFsiuUd8F

http://www.rollersandrevellers.com/fresh-meat/name-generator

http://rollerderby.namegeneratorfun.com/

And then of course there’s google. Do a search under “roller derby names” and voila! Inspiration galore!

If you happen to be lucky and manage to find a name that fits (you’ll know it when it rolls off your tongue and your heart beat rises in time with the crowd roaring in your head as you are picturing your first skate out) you’ll be crossing all your body parts as you tentatively search the derby name register to make sure it hasn’t been taken. And if it hasn’t I’ll bet you move like lightning to get it registered so it stays that way too. (The register is here btw… http://www.rollerderbyau.net/derby-names-roster/womens-derby-names-roster/ )

But when that fails, what happens then?

I’ve been telling myself for months now that I’ve got plenty of time to choose a name. And for many months I’ve been right. But time is running out. Ohhh in case you haven’t realised by now, I’m also the most indecisive person on the planet.

I’ve got a team (Break-hers rock!) and I have sooooooo many ideas for names…

Dellvicious

Delleerious

Blocky Horror

Vicious Dell-isous

Delli Llama

She who hath no name….

But nothing seems to fit or rather, each fits, but it depends on the day and the mood I’m in… kinda like choosing clothes, just less nudity involved.

So what do you do when you can’t decide between your 76 split personalities?

I’m still trying to figure it out, but you can always put it to a vote. Jump onto the WSR social page and throw it out there, see what comes back (and there may be some unexpected suggestions thrown into the mix!). You could even put it to your non-derby friends and get their thoughts and opinions on what seems to suit the best.

At the end of the day, you can even go with your own name, more and more people are doing it and there’s no shame in not being able to settle on a name.

But if you’re like me and are looking for something cool and catchy, perhaps patience is all that’s needed… or a kick in the behind to get you on your way 🙂

Derby Love

Delle

(AKA She who hath no name…. yet)

Off-season… WHAT off-season?

With tummies full of festive goodies that may or may not be conducive to your Season 2015 fitness, here are some great off-season fitness tips from Manic Munchkin 🙂

Anyone who has previous conditions, injuries etc should consult their doctor first before performing any of the exercises and if they want alternatives they can message me 🙂 Also, if there are some who attend a gym, I would encourage them to get staff to help with finding neutral spine and squat range.

Tip #1
Do excises that improve stability, we can be super strong but have poor stability, and this is when injuries happen.
Example exercises:

Calf raises; these are important to promote strength around the lower leg area which will improve stability at the knee joint as well as at the ankle. Muscles are designed to absorb a certain amount of force, the stronger we can get the muscles around the joints, the less likely we are to injure those joints.

Glute Bridges:

Use with or without a weight, on a bench or on the ground.

From ground: lift hips to ceiling, keeping neutral spine (keeping natural curvature of spine, ask someone at gym or home to check, or use pole to measure 3 points of contact head, upper back and glutes, all 3 must be touching pole)

On bench: feet in squat position with upper back on bench, keep hips inline with shoulders and head, not letting them go lower or higher. If you want to use weight, rest on lower part of the stomach.

Powerlifters squat:
This squat is where knees do not go past toes. The movement is like sitting in a chair. It’s very important to know your squat range, which is to the point just before your lower back begins to curve under your hip. Do it in front of a mirror and watch your lower back, I also encourage people to watch themselves when doing other exercises in front of a mirror if training alone.

Tip #2
Do exercises that are relevant to Derby. Maybe you guys have heard of this thing called ‘Functional Movement’, to sum it up, part of it is doing exercises that are relevant to your day to day activity and training your body to perform movements you do on a regular basis.

Example of exercises that would be relevant are:

Bicycle kicks or Russian Oblique Twists: We twist our torsos a lot in Derby, these exercises strengthen the muscles involved because the exercises involve similar movement patterns.

Step ups; It’s very important in derby to have a good derby stance, this includes ensuring our knees track over our toes, by this I mean going in the same direction as our toes. Women’s knees have a tendency to cave inwards because of our wide set hips, so it’s even more important for us girls!
This exercise doesn’t necessarily need weights, it’s more to get into practice ensuring your knees are following your toes, if you can try doing them without touching the ground and if needed, use something to balance yourself with.
Our body is built so every joint is inline for maximum force exertion, when they’re not inline we lose the ability to exert that maximum force.

Tip #3

Cardio! I can hear the groans from here but cardio is incredibly important . Most people have probably heard of interval training, and most are probably too scared to try it. Interval training doesn’t have to be intense, it literally just means intervals between exercise. You could do a 1 minute walk then do a slower walk for 2 minutes. Intervals can be performed on a bike, rowing machine, in a pool or even on your skates! Interval training is very relevant to how derby is played, players have to get used to giving it their all for 2 minutes then slowing down to almost nothing. Please begin with caution, do not start with a high intensity, or even medium. Before starting interval training, ensure you have 6 months previous training in some form of cardio or other fitness experience e.g derby training or gym training.

Tip #4

Always keep neutral spine when training and do not compromise your safety just to push yourself a little further!

Helmet Hair: The Only Side Effect A Good Helmet Should Have

by Delle – AKA: “She who doth not yet have a derby name”

One of the things we take for granted on the track, is the fact that our helmet will protect us in the event of a fall. As a relative newbie to the sport (just on 12 months now), I did some research into helmets to discover a bit more about that vital piece of equipment protecting our noggins from getting a floggin.

What I found surprised me more than I was comfortable to admit:

Most of us are probably not as protected as we may have thought, or even as much as we might like.

It turns out, that most of the helmets being sold to us for derby purposes, aren’t actually rated to take more than 1 serious hit (and some of them, surprisingly, aren’t even rated to do that!).

What counts as a serious hit I hear you ask?

Well it could be something as simple as falling hard and smacking your head on the floor on the rebound… or running into a wall and rebounding off your head (which I was prone to do as a freshie – I’m a klutz by nature what can I say).

Read on if you want to find out more – but make sure you grab yourself a cuppa or a nice glass of vino first (it’s a wee bit lengthy explaining these things)…

DISCLAIMER:

For a start, I want to be upfront and tell you that I am by no means an expert on these things.

BUT I did want to share some of the research with you, maybe you’ll learn something in the process and hopefully I’ll be able to give you something to consider the next time you look at upgrading the head ware.

With a lil luck, I’ll even be able to do it with minimal techni-babble.

Helmets that are approved or recommended for derby use come in two types –

* Single Impact

* Multi Impact

And basically, they split into 3 styles of helmets…

Single Impact Styles

Helmets with a soft foam interior lining:

* Soft foam (or Skate Only) helmets have a plush interior liner and are intended to protect against multiple, low-force impacts commonly associated with sports like roller derby, inline skating, and skateboarding. “Soft foam” roller derby helmets may or may not be skate certified. (Note that lack of such a certification is not unusual and does not mean that your helmet isn’t safe.)

Helmets with a hard foam interior lining

* Hard foam (or bike/skate) helmets have a stiff EPS foam liner, like that of a traditional bicycle helmet. They are mainly intended to sustain one large impact. Hard foam helmets with an EPS liner are typically CPSC certified for bike use. They can also be used while doing other activities, such as roller derby, skateboarding, or inline skating.

Multi Impact Styles

Hockey style helmets or helmets rated to the multi impact standards

* Multi-impact helmets use a different kind of foam which deforms but doesn’t completely crush. In addition to the CPSC test for bicycling, they’re also tested against ASTM F-1492-08, a

standard for roller skating and trick skateboarding, very similar to derby. It’s okay to keep using a multi-impact helmet after falling, but you should still replace it after the event.

Multi-impact helmets are tested by dropping straight down a number of times from a lower height and measuring the amount of energy transferred to the meter inside.

So what’s the standard?

America seems to have set the standards when it comes to rating derby helmets and it’s no surprise that they take it very seriously considering the cult status the sport has in the US. A lot of my research into the topic, involved reading through pages and pages of technical speak about the standards of what a multi-impact helmet was in the US, versus the single impact helmet varieties. There is a lot of information out there on the topic (and I’ve included some links at the end if you’re interested in reading up on it).

In a nutshell, the 3 main certifications setting the standard are the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certification (for single “large impact” helmets), the ASTM certification and the HECC hockey safety certifications (for multi-impact helmets).

U.S Standards

CPSC certified

These helmets meet the requirements for protecting the head in the event of a significant impact (such as hitting the floor with a bit of speed). They are designed to protect the head in the event of a single large impact, or protecting your head in the event of smaller knocks (such as those we cop in the pack at scrim). They tend to have a stiff foam liner which is good for absorbing minor knocks, but which doesn’t dissipate the energy of a larger knock as effectively more than once, the way a multi impact rated helmet will do.

To absorb the impact, the hard shell casing of a CPSC helmet will deform as it dissipates the energy of the fall, basically meaning that the foam lining, won’t go back to its original shape. The effects might not be visible in these cases, which are why on inspection, things might look fine. After a big fall (or even dropping your helmet from a significant height or throwing it in a tanty), the lining isn’t as effective and might not protect you the next time round from getting a concussion.

ASTM certification

This is the standard certification for Multi-Impact helmets used for skating. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of helmets out there that meet the standards required to get this kind of rating. But those that do are slowly finding their way onto the Australian market. To meet the ASTM rating, the helmet needs to be able to take multiple beatings similar to the test for the CPSC certification. In order to pass, the integrity of the liner needs to be maintained.

HECC certification

The HECC certification is the standard for hockey helmets and is the most stringent in terms of testing and pass requirements, and you can imagine why it needs to be when a puck flying through the air could occur multiple times over a game. Naturally, the HECC certification therefore takes the ASTM certification to the next level.

The Australian Standard

Australia doesn’t have a rating for multi impact skate helmets as yet, the closest we get to the US standard is what is used for Hockey helmets in Australia, and most of those are based on the US testing regime.

The bottom line being that that Australian Standards for bike and skate helmets, are more closely aligned to the US CPSC standards for a single large impact.

And a lot of the helmets we get in Australia are from companies in the US which means they’re more likely to have a US Standard attached to them also.

Helmets that don’t meet the cut

S-One derby has a blog on the least protective helmets out there, surprisingly, the following are on the list of helmets that don’t quite make the cut when it comes to protection:

* S-One Premium Helmet (EVA Foam w/ DLX Terry Liner)

* Triple 8 Brainsaver (EVA foam w/ Sweatliner)

* Protec Bucky Helmet (w/ 2 stage foam)

* Protec Classic (w/ 2 stage foam)

* Protec Ace Helmet (2 stage foam)

* 187 Helmet (w/ Sure-Fit Foam liner) You can read more about these helmets at http://s-onederby.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/list-of-least-protective-helmets-for.html

Tips for helmet care

* Make sure your helmet is designed for skate use and not bike-only use (a bike/skate helmet is fine). A skate helmet covers more of the back of your head and neck. You’ll need that protection when you fall backwards.

* Don’t store your helmet in your trunk between practices. Let it and the liner air out. (Your friends will thank you.) Plus, depending on the construction, temperature extremes can damage your helmet.

* Make sure you check your helmet before you use it, inspect it for any visible damage as well as for soft spots in the liner and the outer shell.

X Sports Protective has a couple of articles with more tips on what to look for when inspecting your helmet and knowing when to replace it. Visit http://www.xsportsprotective.com/pages/how-to-choose-roller-derby-helmet for more details.

So which do you choose?

As a minimum, you should be looking at a skate helmet that meets the minimum standards for a single large impact, that means looking at the hard foam interior linings and making sure that you replace your helmet after a big fall (or after throwing your gear around). I’m not going to tell you which helmet to buy, cause ultimately, that’s your decision, and you need to make sure that the helmet fits comfortably also.

Thankfully, there are a few more multi-impact helmets on the market nowadays, not all of them have hit the shops in Aus-land, but you can expect that this will change the more people are looking for them.

Protec, Nutcase & Triple 8 all seem to have ASTM rated helmets in their ranges so that might be a good starting place to start looking if you’re after a multi-impact rated helmet.

For a great read on the ins and outs of helmet standards and the different types of helmets out there, Windy City Rollers have a great article here which is well worth taking the time to read.

At the end of the day, it pays to ask questions and it pays to do a bit of research – a little time and pain now, can stop a lot of pain later and hopefully having read this, you’ll have a better idea of the questions you need to ask to get the best protection to meet your needs.

Thanks for reading!

Derby love

Delle