I've taken plenty of spills, thankfully none of which resulted in serious harm. So for me, faceplants were a quaint notion, a funny side of the sport, one that I gave little thought to other than in a tongue-in-cheek way.
But, no more.
Seems that the great geeky/sciency site Boing Boing recently did a piece called The Science of Faceplanting:
The epic faceplant GIF is the Mom’s apple pie of online culture. Representative of all that the Internet stands for, it is reliable and true blue. Many things will change. You will age. Life will be irrevocably altered. But there will always be some poor soul--or idiot--falling flat on their face, over and over and over.
The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery recently published a clinical study analyzing the forces at work on the face of one such young man. Titled “Video Analysis of the Biomechanics of a Bicycle Accident Resulting in Significant Facial Fractures”, the paper claims to be the first analysis of an actual recorded faceplant trauma. That may be true for bicycle accidents, but it’s not the only time scientists have used video of an impact to understand what happens to the faces involved in that collision. In fact, the most interesting takeaway here isn’t from this paper, itself, but from the window it provides into a scientific field — injury biomechanics, the study of how we hurt ourselves.
So, if you were expecting a funny post about faceplants you've come to the wrong place. Go ahead and click over to the article, it's fascinating.