Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-1218
2019-04-02

Risk of Concussion in Low- to Moderate-Speed Frontal and Rear-End Motor Vehicle Collisions Evaluated Using Head Acceleration-Based Metrics 2019-01-1218

Over the past decade, there has been an increase in awareness and concern about the occurrence and long-term effects of concussions. Traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related emergency department (ED) visits associated with motor vehicle collisions, including patients with a diagnosis of concussion or mild TBI (mTBI), have increased while deaths and hospital admissions related to TBI have decreased. The diagnostic criteria for concussion have evolved and broadened, and based on current assessments and diagnostic imaging techniques, there are often no objective findings, yet a diagnosis of concussion may still be rendered. Clinical assessment of concussion may be based only on patient-reported symptoms and history, making it difficult to objectively relate the reported increase in TBI-related ED visits due to motor vehicle collisions to specific collision parameters. This study aims to perform a scientific evaluation of concussion risk during motor vehicle collisions, strengthened by objective, quantitative data, specifically focusing on head acceleration-based metrics. Data from full-scale passenger vehicle crash tests are reported for frontal and rear-end collisions with delta-Vs ranging from 6.0 to 19.0 kph (3.7 to 11.8 mph) and 5.6 to 19.5 kph (3.5 to 12.1 mph), respectively. Head linear and rotational kinematic data were recorded from instrumented Hybrid III 50th percentile male anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) restrained in the driver’s seats. Several acceleration-based metrics currently used to assess risk of concussion were calculated and compared to published injury risk relationships that have been developed from field accident data, human subjects, and biomechanical models. Overall, the magnitudes of acceleration were low and the injury metrics corresponded to a negligible risk of concussion in these low- to moderate-speed collisions.

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