What is a Motocross Neck Brace?

Micki Elizabeth

A motocross neck brace is a piece of riding gear typically worn by athletes when racing and performing tricks on motorcycles. These braces are commonly used as a safety feature; in case of a crash, the brace could pad the neck and keep the rider from moving above the shoulders, potentially avoiding painful or fatal injuries. Most braces can be adjusted for size and might attach in a number of different ways.

A motocross neck brace can help prevent fatal injuries during a motorcycle crash.
A motocross neck brace can help prevent fatal injuries during a motorcycle crash.

To understand the need for a motocross neck brace, it is important that one be aware of the sport itself. “Motocross” is a blending of the words “motorcycle” with “cross country." The sport generally involves athletes riding and racing motorcycles or other, similar vehicles on closed circuits.

Many times, these racetracks are off-road, meaning that they take place on natural land. This can lead to rough terrain and possibly dangerous obstacles such as hills and holes. It is, therefore, important for motocross athletes to wear protective gear, including a motocross neck brace, as accidents can happen frequently.

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One particular piece of riding gear, the motocross neck brace, forms a layer of lightweight padding, as well as durable materials such as resin, around an athlete’s neck. Oftentimes, the neck brace can attach to the top of another piece of gear—the chest plate. Some braces may also connect to the bottom of a helmet, creating a nearly seamless protective layer for the upper torso.

When shopping for a motocross neck brace, an athlete can normally find his size listed on the product. Practically all braces are somewhat adjustable, so the size chart may list a weight range and, possibly, an age range for which the product is suitable. The brace can be loosened or tightened according to an athlete’s specific size. Furthermore, the padding is often removable if one wishes to shave the foam down to a thinner width.

A motocross neck brace can help an athlete avoid injury in a number of ways. First, if a rider is thrown from his bike and lands on his neck or head, the hard outer shell and the layers of padding should absorb much of the impact. This scenario could prevent a muscle strain or even broken bones, which could be serious enough to cause paralysis or even death.

Secondly, many neck injuries are caused by hyperextension and hyperflexion. This refers to the bending of the neck too far backward or forward, a sensation commonly referred to as “whiplash." A thick motocross neck brace can keep the neck from being able to bend significantly.

Some athletes point out that neck braces can be a hindrance. They are not always comfortable and do tend to limit mobility as a safety measure. Most riders will admit, however, that a little discomfort is worth preventing lasting injuries that could interfere with the sport.

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