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Biomechanical analysis and simulation of backward falls with head impact in older adults

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.Sc.
Date created
Author: Elabd, Karam
This thesis examined the dynamics of backward falls in older adults involving head impact. Time-varying kinematics were extracted from digitizing videos of 11 real-life falls by residents of long-term care. The pelvis always impacted the ground before the head. On average, the head descended 1.2 m, and had a vertical velocity of 1.7 m/s just before it struck the ground. A novel dummy was used to examine how fall mechanics and compliant flooring affect head acceleration. Landing with a curved versus flat torso decreased peak rotational acceleration by 27% (4633 versus 5901 rad/s2). Landing with fixed versus freely rotating hips lowered peak translational accelerations by 36% (101.5 versus 158.7 g) and peak rotational accelerations by 38% (4168 versus 6366 rad/s2). The protective benefit of compliant flooring depended on torso curvature and hip stiffness. These results show that unexplored aspects of fall mechanics strongly influence head impact severity.
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Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Robinovitch, Stephen
Member of collection
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