Technology has improved dramatically over the last quarter century. It has allowed the development of personal body armor capable of preventing penetration of fragments traveling in excess of 609 m/s (2000 ft/s). However, these strides have also exposed the body to greater impact energies without a lethal penetration. The objective of this study was to examine how the body, in particular the head-neck complex, responds to these impacts. A finite element model was developed to characterize the behavior of this biomechanical system. This model was validated against experimental work. The validated model was then subjected to impacts at different positions to induce different load cases. Each set of results was then compared to Head Injury Criteria (HIC), Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS), and the Injury Assessment Reference Values (IARVS) for evidence of injury potential. Disc stiffness was found to be proportional to the injury potential. Rupture of the disc was considered likely for most cases considered. Fracture of the vertebral body was considered likely in a half of the cases under study.

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