Analysis of sports related mTBI injuries caused by elastic wave propagation through brain tissue

D Case, E Richer


Repetitive concussions and sub-concussions suffered by athletes have been linked to a series of sequelae ranging from traumatic encephalopathy to dementia pugilistica. A detailed finite element model of the human head was developed based on standard libraries of medical imaging. The model includes realistic material properties for the brain tissue, bone, soft tissue, and CSF, as well as the structure and properties of a protective helmet. Various impact scenarios were studied, with a focus on the strains/stresses and pressure gradients and concentrations created in the brain tissue due to propagation of waves produced by the impact through the complex internal structure of the human head. This approach has the potential to expand our understanding of the mechanism of brain injury, and to better assess the risk of delayed neurological disorders for tens of thousands of young athletes throughout the world.

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