When the head hits the windshield brain injury may occur almost simultaneously with the impact. That is the sobering news in a report just released.
Research by a Sandia National Laboratories engineer and a University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center neurologist shows that brain injury may occur within one millisecond after a human head is thrust into a windshield as a result of a car accident.
This happens prior to any overall motion of the head following impact with the windshield and is a new concept to consider for doctors interested in traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Paul Taylor of Sandia’s Multiscale Computational Materials Methods Department and Corey Ford, neurologist at UNM’s Department of Neurology and MIND Imaging Center, made the discovery after modeling early-time wave interactions in the human head following impact with a windshield, one scenario leading to the onset of TBI.
TBI is associated with loss of functional capability of the brain to perform cognitive and memory tasks, process information, and perform a variety of motor and coordination functions. More than five million people in the U.S. live with disabilities associated with TBI.
What this tells us is that wearing a seatbelt is the thinking man’s protective headgear. It keeps the head from meeting the windshield. For Florida drivers and passengers this should be a no-brainer.