Traumatic brain injury from automobile crashes is a major source of trauma deaths. The investigation of crashes to understand factors of occupant injuries is an established practice. Our objective was to evaluate the association between vehicle G forces (G) sustained on impact and brain injury in motor sports crashes.
We analyzed data regarding Indy Racing League (IRL) car crashes from 1996 to 2003 and compared the likelihood of head injury in those drivers who were in a vehicle that sustained an impact of ≥50 G versus those with a lesser impact. The mean maximal G for those with head injury was compared with those without head injury.
We analyzed 374 crashes. A driver in a crash with an impact of ≥50 G developed a head injury 16.0% (30/188) versus 1.6% (3/186) in those of <50 G (P < 0.001). The mean peak G for those with head injury was 79.6 (SD 28.5) versus 50.6 (SD 28.0) in those with no head injury (P < 0.001).
Findings were that IRL car crashes with peak vehicle G ≥ 50 were associated with the development of traumatic brain injuries.
1The Indy Racing League, Indianapolis, IN; 2Department of Emergency Medicine and Department of Medicine, and 3Division of Biostatistics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Address for correspondence: Christopher S. Weaver, Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, 1050 Wishard Blvd., Rm R2200, Indianapolis, IN 46202; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted for publication December 2004.
Accepted for publication August 2005.