An Evaluation of Various Neck Injury Criteria in Vigorous Activities


Dr. James R. Funk, Mr. Joseph M. Cormier, Dr. C.E. “Ted” Bain, Mr. Herb M. Guzman, Mr. Enrique B. Bonugli


IRCOBI Conference. International Research Council on the Biomechanics of Injury. Maastricht, The Netherlands. September 19-21, 2007:16 pp.


Several different injury criteria have been proposed to predict the likelihood of AIS 1 neck injury in automobile collisions.  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of various injury criteria to predict the presence or absence of minor injury in human volunteers subjected to vigorous activities in which the neck was loaded in a direction similar to an automotive rear impact.  Twenty (20) volunteers were subjected to five test scenarios: a soccer ball impact to the forehead, a voluntary hand strike to the forehead, voluntary shaking of the head, plopping down in a seat, and a vertical drop while seated supine in a chair.  Most criteria predicted a low risk of injury in all activities.  However, high values for the Neck Injury Criterion (NIC) (> 15 m2/s2) were recorded in a large number of tests in the soccer ball, head strike, and chair tip scenarios.  No long-term neck symptoms were reported after any of these tests, which was a significantly more favorable outcome than what would be predicted by the NIC risk curve proposed by Eriksson and Kullgren (2006) (p < 0.001). The finding that NIC greatly overpredicts the risk of long-term (> 1 month) AIS 1 neck injury in non-automotive scenarios casts doubt on its biomechanical validity.