Lets have a look at some images from a few loftings, sometimes there are head injuries, sometimes not. There has been talk about helmets again, here is some more food for thought for folks debating wearing one. Considering the speed of travel, momentum and possible rotation, I doubt the riders have a lot of control how they hit and minimize injury. That is short of doing some reverse kite loops to slow things up. Beyond that, watch your weather and buffer.
This guy lucked out by cutting a 60 ft. tunnel through sea grape trees before striking the house. He had a helmet on but still suffered a bad concussion, brain hemorrhage and amnesia. It took three months for things to get back to normal. The doctor was surprised when the recovery happened so soon and completely. He attributed the guys survival to the fact he was wearing a helmet.
Another view of the same lofting. A 165 ft. doesn't look that far after all.
A well experienced kiter reported struck the rock around that white water line further out in the frame in Aruba. He died as a result of the impact.
This guy got lofted by a mere 30 mph squall gust a 100 ft. high and 1200 ft. horizontally. If he had landed anywhere short of 50 ft. of where he ended you would wonder about the odds of survival. He skimmed in a speed into shallow water at a low angle through luck and came out without injury.
This well experienced kiter suffered a fatal traumatic brain injury after striking the rocks in a messed up transition in 11 to 12 kts.
An athletic teenager was lofted repeatedly over an overall distance of 600 ft. over land. He struck several objects along the way. He also hit a curb at the end with the back of his head, once things had slowed down suffering traumatic brain injury. He was not wearing a helmet. I understand in time he recovered quite well.
A well experienced kiter was lofted in a 15 kt. gust into the rock field in the spillway suffering fatal traumatic brain injury. He was not wearing a helmet.
This guy got lofted in a 52 kt. gust and was flown about 100 ft. high and 800 ft. horizontally. He steered towards a pine tree, ended up hitting saving himself and spending a few days in the hospital. He was one very lucky guy and was not wearing a helmet.
Shannon Best got lofted in a summer squall gusting to about 30 kts. and went flying about 100 ft. along the beach and to a height of about 20 ft. if memory serves. He ditched the kite before flying into something hard, the road or powerlines. I think he got a real bruised butt out of the experience.
Several kiters rode in the vicinity of this water spout until it picked some of them up lofting them shoreward. One guy destroyed the front end of a car landing on it. Another was lofted 100's of meters into the side of a house. He didn't survive the impact.
A well known kiter was dragged over shallow rocks here in a gust shredding his scalp and causing traumatic brain injury. He feels a helmet might have lessened the damage. You can see photos of the head injuries, pretty gory stuff by the way at: http://fksa.org/showthread.php?p=2264
This could go on for many more pages and that is just the fatalities but I will stop here. There have been many more accidents which were survived with varying degrees of injury. My sincere regrets go out to the family and friends of those kiters who were lost and best wishes to those that survived to not repeat the experience. Try to learn from the past or be fated to repeat it.
There have been many dozens of fatal loftings related to traumatic brain injury worldwide in the last 11 years. There have been many more serious but non-fatal traumatic brain injuries. All the above and a good deal more accidents are described at viewforum.php?f=131
You NEVER know how you will hit if you are lofted, some have brain injury, some don't. Some benefited from wearing a helmet, some might have and in some cases it may not have made much difference. You never know how you will strike in advance. Take reasonable precautions or trust to luck, riders choice.
p.s. - want to see what an Epidural Hematoma (a shallow brain bleed) looks like? I elected not to embed this image in the post because it is pretty intense. If you aren't worried about the consequences of a head impact, perhaps you should have a look at this. The dark red section is the area of injury. I've had one of these, a lesser version I think, a number of us have worldwide. It is a good thing to try to avoid.