Associated mechanisms of injuries sustained by rollover‐involved occupants are absent from the existing literature, which restricts the applicability of existing studies on cervical spine injury tolerance in the development of injury criteria for rollover‐induced injuries. The objective of this study was to analyze the pathologies and specific spinal injury mechanisms from rollover crash occupants using existing data from cadaver cervical spine compressive tests. Sampled cases (n=23), representing single‐vehicle, single‐event rollovers from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) database were analyzed. A review of 19 experimental studies of cervical spine literature was conducted to support the mechanism determination for occupant injuries. Axial loading in the cephalocaudal direction was found to be the predominant loading component responsible for cervical spine injury in all of the CIREN occupants. Discrepancies between CIREN injuries and cadaver test pathologies exist, primarily with regard to asymmetry in the AIS 2 fractures. Seventeen of the 23 CIREN occupants sustained asymmetric fracture (66.7% of total fractures), an injury type seldom produced in experimental cadaver tests (14.4% of total fractures). The difference was less for catastrophic cervical spine injuries (AIS 4+). Differences between the field injuries and cadaver tests can be accounted for by inherent limitations of cadaver tissue and/or the paucity of non‐sagittal cadavers tests. Regardless, the results emphasize that further investigation into nonsagittal cervical spine compression injury is needed to understand or improve the level of correlation between cadaver tests and the clinical outcomes seen in the field.
Keywords: Cervical spine, rollover, CIREN, bilateral facet dislocation (BFD)