Narayan Yoganandan, Frank A. Pintar, John R. Humm, Dennis J. Maiman, Liming Voo, Andrew Merkle

June 2016, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 2193 - 2201 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-016-4536-y

First Online: 04 April 2016


The purpose of this study was to determine injuries to osteo-ligamentous structures of cervical column, mechanisms, forces, severities and AIS scores from vertical accelerative loading.


Seven human cadaver head–neck complexes (56.9 ± 9.5 years) were aligned based on seated the posture of military soldiers. Army combat helmets were used. Specimens were attached to a vertical accelerator to apply caudo-cephalad g-forces. They were accelerated with increasing insults. Intermittent palpation and radiography were done. A roof structure mimicking military vehicle interior was introduced after a series of tests and experiments were conducted following similar protocols. Upon injury detection, CT and dissection were done. Temporal force responses were extracted, peak forces and times of occurrence were obtained, injury severities were graded, and spine stability was determined.


Injuries occurred in tests only when the roof structure was included. Responses were tri-phasic: initial thrust, secondary tensile, tertiary roof contact phases. Peak forces: 1364–4382 N, initial thrust, 165–169 N, secondary tensile, 868–3368 N tertiary helmet-head roof contact phases. Times of attainments: 5.3–9.6, 31.7–42.6, 55.0–70.8 ms. Injuries included fractures and joint disruptions. Multiple injuries occurred in all but one specimen. A majority of injury severities were AIS = 2. Spines were considered unstable in a majority of cases.


Spine response was tri-phasic. Injuries occurred in roof contact tests with the helmeted head–neck specimen. Multiplicity and unstable nature of AIS = 2 level injuries, albeit at lower severities, might predispose the spine to long-term accelerated degenerative changes. Clinical protocols should include a careful evaluation of sub-catastrophic injuries in military patients.

Read Full Article