Communications Project

Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Kevin M. Moorhouse
Title:Determination of a Whiplash Injury Severity Estimator (WISE Index) for Occupants in a Motor Vehicle Accident
Degree:Master of Science
Department:Engineering Mechanics
Committee Chair: Daniel J. Schneck
Committee Members:J. Wallace Grant
Brian J. Love
Keywords:whiplash, injury, accident, flexure, dynaman
Date of defense:April 21, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


                                                Determination of a

                        Whiplash Injury Severity Estimator (WISE Index)

                                               for Occupants in a

                                            Motor Vehicle Accident


                                             Kevin M. Moorhouse


The diagnosis of a whiplash injury is a very subjective process. A claim of this type of injury is usually made on the basis of pain, which may or may not be accompanied by clinical signs of trauma. This study was aimed at providing a more objective, quantitative approach to identifying the potential for whiplash injury in a direct front-or-rear-end automobile collision.

The Whiplash Injury Severity Estimator (WISE Index) was created using data obtained from Dr. Schneck’s personal library of case files, including the collision acceleration of the vehicle, and the height, weight, and sex of the occupant. Some extrapolated data was also used representing the low and high ranges of height, weight, and collision acceleration to increase the range of the WISE Index. Data was analyzed by the Dynaman computer program in conjunction with the Articulated Total Body Model, to calculate the response of the body to external forces and impacts. The dynamic response of the occupant, combined with preexisting medical statistics provided the information necessary to perform a regression analysis in MINITAB and thus construct the WISE Indices shown below.

Male WISE Index (R² = 0.993)

£ = 0.2643 ± 0.4071 |(accel,g)| -0.01428(PI)

1.1g<=accel<=5g;      22.4<=PI<=25.0

Female WISE Index (R² = 0.978)

£ = 0.6214 ± 0.3429 |(accel,g)| -0.02929(PI)

0.8g<=accel<=5g;      22.3<=PI<=31.0

Acceleration: Use the negative sign if it is a rear-end collision and the positive sign if it is a head-on collision.

£ : A negative value means that potential injury results from backward head rotation, as in a rear-end collision. A positive value means that potential injury results from forward head rotation, as in a head-on collision.

|£ | < 1 = " Safe "

|£ | > 1 = " Dangerous "

The WISE Index allows one to predict the potential for a whiplash injury, as well as the intensity of the injury, based solely on collision acceleration, height, weight, and sex of the occupant. It is anticipated that this work and future efforts in this area will provide the information base necessary for anyone to effectively evaluate the validity of an alleged whiplash injury.

List of Attached Files


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