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Injury Biomechanics at The University of Michigan - The Emergence of a New Enginee ring Discipline by ProQuest


The pioneering efforts of Colonel John Paul Stapp and his colleagues in studying the tolerance of the human to acceleration forces in the 1950s, followed by the emergence of automotive crash safety as a national priority in the 1960s, led to the evolution of a new engineering discipline-the biomechanics of injury. When an impact injury occurs, its treatment is the concern of trauma physicians and other medical specialists. However, the creation of the specific injury, such as a broken bone or a ruptured artery, is a mechanical failure of tissues. Accordingly, the determination of "how" a particular injury occurs is an engineering problem-an injury biomechanics problem. So too, is the prevention of the injury through protective system design. There is no vaccine for trauma. Beginning in 1968 with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Head Injury Model Project, and continuing for 17 years, I was associated with an extraordinary variety of topics and a diverse collection of individuals that helped to form the discipline of injury biomechanics at The University of Michigan. My presentation will trace the development of injury biomechanics as it emerged at Michigan in parallel with other organizations in the U.S. and around the world to become the sophisticated body of knowledge that we now see presented at Stapp Car Crash Conferences each year. I have provided a selected bibliography of our biomechanical activities from a wider range of automotive safety projects during those years. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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