This study investigates the propensity for rupture of living and unembalmed cadaveric canine cerebral vessels when subjected to similar injury. A 10 gram mass was dropped from varying heights onto the exposed brain in both the living and cadaveric state. The post-mortem cerebral vessels were reperfused with an ink marker at living pressures to simulate normal vascular distention with blood. Both living and cadaveric vessels ruptured in response to the same energy (100 to 400 cm gm.) and failed to rupture below these levels (50 cm gm.). It is suggested that the physical integrity of post-mortem cerebral vessels is sufficiently adequate to allow them to serve as indicators of brain injury in response to various loads. This vascular injury should be more pertinent to the investigation of traumatic brain injury than the propensity of load to fracture the skull, since the occurrence of skull fracture in trauma is inconsistently related to brain injury.