1987-02-23

The Role of Skull Fractures in Short Duration Head Impacts 870321

Head injuries are considered a significant safety problem for vehicle occupants involved in vehicle crashes. Although medical literature on the subject is extensive, the emphasis is mainly on the clinical and studies frequently involve data samples that are not representative to the vehicle occupant population. Also, research efforts on head injury have focused on the head rotational acceleration mechanism. The effect of head contact on brain injuries has not been adequately acknowledged and there has been disagreement regarding skull fracture and its relationship to brain injury.
The human head, being an extremely complex structure, has many independent injury modes which cannot be described satisfactorily by a single brain injury mechanism. Many individual pathophysiological disturbances to the skull and its contents together comprise head injuries. Perhaps, a more practical method to study head injury problems is to divide prevailing occupant head injuries into subgroups having the same common injury characteristics and then study the individual problem based on impact dynamic theory. Head impacts with A-pillar/roof rail components may be a subgroup in the short duration impact category. A scientific study of the occupant head injury problem shows that skull fractures are a good indicator of severe brain injury for certain types of head impact. In many cases, skull fractures are directly or partly associated with severe and fatal brain injuries.

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