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Jeez that Hurts

In simple terms, dogfighting is like simultaneously being punched by Mike Tyson, tackled by Ray Lewis, and sat on by an elephant while trying to solve a three-dimensional mental puzzle. It’s hard to breathe, hard to think, and the G forces are crushing. The next morning you awake with Mike, Ray, and the elephant all smiling over you. Some aircraft can pull more Gs than the F/A-18, but it does pretty well at 7.5 and it is common to reach that repeatedly on a single training sortie. At 7.5 times the force of gravity a pilot who weighs 200 pounds now experiences 1,500 pounds. A pilot’s head, which can weigh 10 pounds plus 5 more with the helmet, now feels like over 100 pounds. No wonder we all hurt. Surveys show the proportion of actively flying fighter pilots who suffer flight-related neck injury ranges from 30% during the preceding month, to 50% during the preceding three months, to almost 90% over the course of the pilot’s career. This isn’t just a health issue, but a tactical issue as well. One study found 85% of fighter pilots report utilizing more conservative aerial tactics due to neck pain. The neck is designed to hold 10 pounds, not 100 pounds, and yet as fighter pilots we subject ourselves to such strain daily. When Monty introduced me to his invention, I had just suffered two episodes of my neck locking up. I couldn’t look right or up, it was crippling. In each instance I spent three weeks off the flight schedule rehabbing my neck, only to have the issues reappear once I returned to flying. NECK X changed all that.

Mark R. Coakwell, Donald S. Bloswick, and Royce Moser, Jr., “High-Risk Head and Neck Movements at High G and Interventions to Reduce Associated Neck Injury,” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 75, No. 1, January 2004, 68-80,

Anderson B., Lindsey M. Evaluation and treatment of neck and back pain in the high-performance aviator. Abstract presentation. F-35 Aeromedical Community of Interest, semi-annual meeting; Denver, Colorado. April 2016.

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