I've been a roadie for quite a while and race in crits. This is my first year of racing in cyclocross. I love cross but unfortuanetly in my second race of the season I crashed. I have 3 fractured ribs and a slightly punctured lung. Therefore my season is now over. I realize I need to improve my off road bike handling skills but practicing of course comes with the realization that I will fall off the bike again. I am optimistic that I will have plenty of cyclocross races ahead of me but I was wondering if anyone races with any other protection besides the obvious of a helmet? I was thinking of getting a chest and shoulder protector. Any advice?
I'd ask the MTB people for advice. There are more of them and this might be more their sort of thing. You could try the BMXers too.
The main point to know about handling a bike off road - you probably know this, but some people don't - is that you have to learn to do most of your braking with the front wheel, because the back wheel goes into a skid so easily. This is especially true of race legal crossers with their narrow tyres.
Kudos on continuing racing with "a slightly punctured lung"!
I just wear the normal helmet, gloves, and glasses. Road, mountain, and 'cross.
The mountain guys might have suggestions, but they typically don't wear chest protection - usually just a beefier helmet, elbow pads, and a shin/knee pad. Downhill is probably the only discipline where chest/body armor is common, so I'd look there.