Predicting Mild Traumatic Brain Injury with Injury Risk Functions
To assess the safety of various products, equipment, and vehicles during traumatic events injury risk curves have been developed correlate measurable parameters with risk of injury. The first risk curves to predict head injuries focused on severe head injuries such as skull fractures. These curves were generated by impacting cadaver heads. To understand the biomechanics of mild traumatic brain injuries, cadaver heads have also been used to monitor pressure and strain in the brain during impacts. Live animal models have been used to understand the physiological response of the brain to impact to create thresholds for mild traumatic brain injuries such as concussions. These results have been scaled to humans. To generate injury risk curves from live human models, impacts from games in the NFL have been reconstructed in the laboratory. Helmets of NCAA football players have also be instrumented with accelerometers to collect all impacts during a season resulting in the development of injury risk curves that predict concussion as a function of both linear and rotational acceleration. These risk curves provide researchers with a better understanding of the efficacy of various safety systems and give insight as to how safety systems can be improved.