STP1050: Cervical Spine Fractures: Mechanisms, Neck Loads, and Methods of Prevention

    Bishop, PJ
    Biomechanics Impact Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont.

    Wells, RP
    Biomechanics Impact Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont.

    Pages: 13    Published: Jan 1989


    Abstract

    Cervical spine fractures, particularly of the burst type, caused by axial compressive loading of the spine, have been an increasing problem in hockey for the past several years. The mechanism associated with such injuries involves a headfirst collision in which the crown of the head strikes the boards, goalpost, or another player with the neck partially to fully flexed. Mechanical simulation of these collisions using an anthropometric test dummy has yielded compressive forces of approximately 5000 N in the C4-C5-C6 region of the cervical spine from impact speeds of only 1.8 m s-1. The relationship between these forces and human tolerance limits is illustrated. Computer simulations of these accidents demonstrate that prevention cannot be accomplished by increasing the amount of padding material in the crown of the helmet. Other preventive strategies are suggested.

    Keywords:

    cervical spine, axial compressive loading, neck injuries, neck fractures


    Paper ID: STP24040S

    Committee/Subcommittee: F08.51

    DOI: 10.1520/STP24040S


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