An analysis of maximum vehicle G forces and brain injury in motorsports crashes

Christopher S. Weaver, Brian K. Sloan, Edward J. Brizendine, Henry Bock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusion: Findings were that IRL car crashes with peak vehicle G ≥ 50 were associated with the development of traumatic brain injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-249
Number of pages4
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006


  • Accelerometer
  • Automotive crashes
  • Head injury
  • Racing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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