Operators of personal watercraft (PWC) can perform maneuvers that may result in riders separating from the moving watercraft; the tested hypothesis was whether substantial brain injury concurrent with substantial facial and skull fractures can occur from contact with the PWC during a fall. The present study reports the potential for AIS2+ facial/skull fractures and AIS2+ traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a generic fall from the PWC in the absence of wave-jumping or other aggressive maneuvers. While it is well known that PWC can be used for wave-jumping which can result in more severe impacts, such impacts are beyond the scope of the present study because of the wide variability in occupant and PWC kinematics and possible impact velocities and orientations. Passenger separation and fall kinematics from both seated and standing positions were analyzed to estimate head impact velocities and possible impact locations on the PWC. A special purpose headform, known as the Facial and Ocular CountermeasUre Safety (FOCUS) device was used to evaluate the potential for facial fractures, skull fractures and TBI. Impacts between the FOCUS headform and the PWC were performed at velocities of 8, 10, and 12 miles per hour at 5 locations near the stern of a PWC. This study reports impact forces for various facial areas, linear and angular head accelerations, and Head Injury Criteria (HIC). The risk for facial fracture and TBI are reported herein. The results of this study indicate that concurrent AIS2 facial fractures, AIS2+ skull fractures, and AIS2+ TBI do not occur during a simple fall from a PWC.

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