This paper reviews the traditional areas of impact biomechanics as they relate to brain injury caused by blunt impact. These areas are injury mechanisms, human response to impact, human tolerance to impact and the use of human surrogates. With the advent of high-speed computers, it is now possible to add computer models to the list of human surrogates that used to be limited to animals and human cadavers. The advantages and shortcomings of current computer models are discussed One of the computer models was used to predict the pressures and shear stresses developed in the brain and the extent of stretch of the bridging veins in the brains of American football players who sustained severe helmet-to-helmet head impact during the game. It was found that increases in intracranial pressure were more dependent on translational acceleration while the primary determinant for the development of shear stresses in the brain is rotational acceleration. Although the current head injury criterion is based almost entirely on translational acceleration, it is recommended that any new criterion should reflect the contribution of both translational and rotational acceleration.
Keywords: Biomechanics; head impact; finite element modeling; traumatic minor brain injury