Accidents lead to a variety of injuries, impacting the body in every imaginable way. Superficial cuts and scrapes do not lead to claims, but serious incidents requiring extensive medical care draw on personal injury resources to meet expenses.
Broken bones and bruised tissue are relatively minor afflictions, compared to serious injuries sustained to the head and neck. Head injuries are not limited to particular circumstances or accidental events, they are sustained engaging in a wide cross-section of activities - some hazardous, and others mundane.
Dangers Associated with Head and Neck Trauma
Neck and head injuries occur during participation in sporting activities, automotive accidents, and even result from walking down the street. The primary culprit behind serious head injuries is trauma suffered when skulls come into contact with immovable objects.
The head and neck are ground zero for human body functions, so vascular and nerve activity is very pronounced in these areas. Accidents to the skull lead to internal hemorrhages, and other vascular conditions, as well nerve injuries impacting motor coordination.
Skull injuries are categorized as open or closed based on the nature of the wounds involved. Open injuries include visible bleeding, and broken bones in the skull. Closed injuries result from forces as strong as those causing open wounds, but injuries are hidden and restricted to internal areas. Unseen conditions are particularly problematic, causing serious hidden bleeding, and sometimes stimulating damage that does not appear immediately.
Just as the bones of the skull protect the brain, the vertebra and cervical discs of the neck surround and protect the spine. Neck injuries include those to the bones themselves, and others impacting their supporting soft tissues. The most serious injuries to the neck are those which cause damage to the spine. Paralysis and irrevocable physical impairment result from broken-neck injuries that impinge the spinal column.
Not all head and neck incidents involve forceful trauma to the areas. Superficial injuries like cuts to the scalp and face, and bruised tissue in the musculature of the neck occur frequently, without major consequences.
How Injuries Occur
Participating in sports and falling victim to motor vehicle accidents are the most likely ways of sustaining head and neck injuries. High speeds increase forces, leading to broken bones and other head and spine issues.
Motor sports, pushing the envelope on motorcycle and automobile performance, create dangerous conditions for sensitive head and neck structures, when accidents occur. Racing cars are outfitted with special safety harnesses which envelope the head and neck, immobilizing them should impacts occur. Helmet technology also provides high levels of protection for crash victims. Motorcyclists wear similar protective gear as auto racers, including jutting chin-guards that protect facial bones during accidents.
Bicycling places riders in vulnerable positions, leading with the head and neck. The forward posture assumed by cyclists extends the neck into a position that is the first to receive the force of impact during accidents. As a result, end over end bicycle crashes commonly lead to injuries to the neck and spine.
Other contact sports: Football, hockey, and wrestling, are also hard on the heads and necks of participating athletes. Helmets are worn in the former, and even wrestlers wear protective head gear to keep ears and other facial features out of harm's way.
Competitive, dangerous sports naturally cause injuries, but head and neck accidents occur throughout the course of everyday activities too. Accidental falls and inadvertent blows to the skull are common causative factors for injuries to the head and neck. Severe impact is responsible for death, in some cases, and lasting physical impairment is a reality for many survivors of head trauma.