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Are roller coaster grayouts/blackouts dangerous?


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Ah yes, the Greyouts I often see on Flight Deck and even more so on Invertigo when we had that. It's weird though, I don't see them all the time when on Flight Deck, maybe on the first ride. After a few times back-to-back rides, I usually see no grey spots. Often, I see the spots or what looks like TV static/noise right after the loop into the first turnaround, riding in the back seat.

 

When Invertigo was there, I often saw them/got tunnel vision in the vertical loop if I rode an end seat facing backwards first.

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I would not be so quick to apply a blanket statement to the question posed in the title - sure, we are talking about a relatively mild and short loss of consciousness, but this is a fairly young field of science. Just look at where studies on concussions and brain trauma have gone over the past couple decades. I would also suggest that there are underlying biological or genetic features that can vary each individual's reaction to such an event. An enthusiast may be more "conditioned" to handle such forces, a member of the general public may not.

 

In short, I wouldn't say anything too definitive.

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^ I agree to an extent as I have somewhat "conditioned" myself... I suppose. I am somewhat of an insomniac(its 2am right now) and I am lucky if I fall asleep before 3 or 4 and I try to get to parks early... so for something like WCB I will get at most 5 to 6 hours of sleep and at least 2 to 3.

 

Everyone else is right... ride when you feel energetic... but as far as we know there is no damage... of course I have never truly blacked out. The closest I've ever come was on Tatsu's pretzel in the back row where I began to grey out... never fully unconscious or anything... but fighting it... and it was awesome in a crazy forceful way.

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Definitely don't miss out next time you're at KD, and if you're there, look for Dale, he's an awesome, funny ride up at i305, every op should be like him!

 

YES! Dale was there when we rode too...that crew was definitely the best at KD during our visit. And after visiting Dollywood, I firmly believe that parks should hire more senior ride op's. They really care about enhancing the guest experience, they're thorough and usually have a good sense of humor. And I'm not being predjudice just because my partner is 67!

 

As far as gray-out's, I did have one last year on I-305, so this year I just closed my eyes through the first helix and felt fine. Second time I rode, I kept my eyes open and did not gray out although my partners daughter said that she grayed out.

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I would not be so quick to apply a blanket statement to the question posed in the title - sure, we are talking about a relatively mild and short loss of consciousness, but this is a fairly young field of science. Just look at where studies on concussions and brain trauma have gone over the past couple decades. I would also suggest that there are underlying biological or genetic features that can vary each individual's reaction to such an event. An enthusiast may be more "conditioned" to handle such forces, a member of the general public may not.

 

In short, I wouldn't say anything too definitive.

 

Not to mention that pre-existing medical conditions are certainly a factor.

 

In short, NO ONE SHOULD BE RELYING ON A THEME PARK WEBSITE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE!

Edited by larrygator
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I would not be so quick to apply a blanket statement to the question posed in the title - sure, we are talking about a relatively mild and short loss of consciousness, but this is a fairly young field of science. Just look at where studies on concussions and brain trauma have gone over the past couple decades. I would also suggest that there are underlying biological or genetic features that can vary each individual's reaction to such an event. An enthusiast may be more "conditioned" to handle such forces, a member of the general public may not.

 

In short, I wouldn't say anything too definitive.

 

Not to mention that pre-existing medical conditions are certainly a factor.

 

In short, NO ONE SHOULD BE RELYING ON A THEME PARK WEBSITE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE!

 

Noted, though the caps-lock was unnecessary.

 

MOD EDIT: THE CAPS LOCK IS NECESSARY

Edited by larrygator
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I've always enjoyed this as part of the ride experience. Some of the ones I can easily remember are Viper at SFMM going into the second loop (this was after a long day in the sun and most likely dehydrated and exhausted), Goliath at SFMM and its famous helix, and Raptor at CP's final helix. I've found that deep gutteral grunting and just pushing from your gut up helps with counteracting the greyouts.

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I would not be so quick to apply a blanket statement to the question posed in the title - sure, we are talking about a relatively mild and short loss of consciousness, but this is a fairly young field of science. Just look at where studies on concussions and brain trauma have gone over the past couple decades. I would also suggest that there are underlying biological or genetic features that can vary each individual's reaction to such an event. An enthusiast may be more "conditioned" to handle such forces, a member of the general public may not.

 

In short, I wouldn't say anything too definitive.

 

Human response to G-force as a science is at least 70 years old and very well researched.

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Human response to G-force as a science is at least 70 years old and very well researched.

you're right, my bad!

 

More than 10%

of pilots of fighter aircraft reported experiencing

unexpected loss of consciousness (LOC) while flying

aerobatic maneuvers; the real incidence is probably

higher because such events often induce amnesia.

While such loss of consciousness resembles ordinary

syncope, the consequences can be fatal, and the US

Air Force cited sudden unconsciousness as the cause of

18 fatal accidents during the years 1982 through 1990.

LOC during steep turns was first reported in 1918

as “fainting in the air” and became a problem during

early air races.3 Significant acceleration peaks became

common experience for pilots flying improved aircraft

between World War I and World War II, although the

combination of high aerodynamic drag and low engine

thrust in aircraft of that period made such acceleration

a transient phenomenon. Nevertheless, concerns

related to pilot blackout and loss of consciousness

led to operational restrictions on the turn rates

of some aircraft during the 1920s.

- US Army Medical Department

"Acceleration Effects on Military Pilots"

You can read all about the effects on the body here

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  • 1 year later...

I had a few experiences like this when I went on Golaith at SFOG. Half way though the 540 degree helix, I was greying out. I went a few times, actually, because the line was so short. It was luxurious, it was so short. Every couple of times, I would grey out half way though the helix. I could fix this for the most part by holding my breath, but really I should never have to do that. There was one time that I completely blacked out and it was scary. I didn't eat very much that day, let alone anything to drink, and I had a lot of sugar the day before. I also had a headach, so I probably was pretty dehydrated. I will keep that in mind next time I go.

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The only time I've ever blacked out or grayed out was on Invertigo last year(KI) It was like a total of like 7 seconds of a blackout. Its made me scared to ride it because I'm worried ill black out again. Otherwise ive never blacked or grayed out on any rides.

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The only time I experienced slight grey out was in Nitro's helix before the MCRB. It wasn't particularly unpleasant and it was only for around 3 seconds. Interesting experience.

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I would grayout a lot on Dominator at Geauga Lake (now at Kings Dominion) on the first loop. I also grayout most of the time on Millennium Force at CP during the first overbanked turn. When I ride, I usually have enough food and water in my system so I don't know why I grayout.

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I've never blacked out before, but I've grayed out on Nitro's helix, especially when you first enter it. I've also semi-grayed out on I305's first turn- my vision got blurry and my ears popped, but that was it.

 

I'm no doctor, but I can't imagine a grayout is too serious. If you keep blackouts, though, I'd imagine that something's wrong.

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I don't think greyouts are dangerous, however you shouldn't force your body into it.

 

A friend told me that coaster enthusiasts experience greyouts because they are way more relaxed on a roller coaster

Most of the general public seems to scream on a ride or at least tighten their face muscles somehow..

 

So if you are experiencing a grey out, Scream at the top of your lungs, it will bring back the oxygen and blood circulation somehow

Other tips, which were already given already are indeed stay hydrated make sure you have enough energy and make sure your healthy before riding a rollercoaster.

 

For myself, I do experiece grayouts sometimes and I do like it when it happens, it gives me that OMFG feeling because of the high G-forces. But I am always somehow afraid that I will lose consiousness.

 

There was one ride, on Shambhala in PortAventura, where I had a real blackout and lost consiousness for about 10 seconds, I can't remember anything from the large helix to the hill after the splash.. On this day, it was really hot, I did a lot of consecutive rides that day, I didn't have breakfast and the only thing I drank was a beer. This didn't really scare me, but it was one of the wierdest things ever. After this I still love high-G-force rides

 

After this I decided to always make sure to keep myself a bit healthy when Im at a park, and get a drink when I start to experience gray-outs.

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^ I've actually got another few good tips.

 

-If you feel like you're going to throw up, hum. It doesn't have to be loud, but your body can not vomit when your vocal cords are engaged.

-Hold your breath if you think you're going to black or grey out. This is the same thing fighter pilots do, and it works.

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One time I was at Dollywood. It was pretty hot and I didn't really drink a lot before hand. I decided to ride Tornado.

 

That thing was flying! As the train went through the first loop, I noticed it was a tad more forceful than usual. Then we got to the second loop and I started greying out.

 

From that ride, I don't remember anything from the third loop to the brake run. It was fantastic haha.

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I actually love grayouts. Coasters that do it to me consistently are Millennium Force from the first drop pullout through the first overbank and Nitro in the midcourse helix. I get them on Xcelerator from time to time on hot days (or if I happen to be on a particularly vicious creatine cycle).

 

As others have said there's nothing dangerous about it unless it starts happening all the time. Then its probably dehydration or poor nutrition. If that wasn't the case I doubt fighter pilots would be regularly subjecting themselves to 7-9 g's.

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I used to grey out on Goliath at SFMM in the helix every time, for me Ive found that tilting my head to the left (so that I am parallel with the track rather than perpendicular if I was just sitting up straight in the seat) eliminates the greyouts, I think/assume because the blood doesnt rush directly out that way.

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I used to grey out EVERY time on I305. I can't remember where I read this but if you take deep breaths while boarding and going up the lift then breath normally once you crest the lift, and you should be good. Italian job is another one that does it to me.

 

The only bad experience I've had with grey outs was on time on I305. I was riding it all day, then my last ride I greyed out at the bottom of the first drop, usually when you go over the first airtime hill, your vision comes back. This time, it did not. My vision came back half way through the high speed turns. I felt very weird the entire ride and almost don't remember it. I was very weirded out by it and decided to leave for the day. Don't know what caused it, may have been dehydrated, who knows, lol. It hasn't happened since though.

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