Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of mortality and acquired disability in children. Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are typically considered the most disabling of these injuries. However, little is known about the specific patterns of injuries that lead to various degrees of functional disability in children and the biomechanical mechanisms for these crash-related disabling injuries. The broad long-term objective of this line of research is to advance the understanding of the nature and causes of functional disability after pediatric injury in sufficient detail to inorm secondary prevention (improved engineering and injury countermeasures) strategies as well as tertiary prevention (improved acute and rehabilitative care) strategies. As a first step in achieving this goal, the current proposal will focus on motor vehicle crashes as a prototypic mechanism of disabling injury in children.
The aims of the project are: 1) To identify the injuries for children 7-18 years old that are associated with moderate to severe functional disability upon discharge from rehabilitation centers, 2) To identify the crash characteristics, direction of impac, occupant contact points, and adequacy of restraint system performance that contribute to the moderately to severely disabling pattern of injuries, and to 3) To create a 3-dimensional dynamic computational model in order to quantify the crash biomechanics, simulate the occupant kinematics, and identify a countermeasure that could mitigate the biomechanical mechanism of injury.
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