Sports Injuries

While many participate in sports for enjoyment and health benefits, recreational activities, particularly those involving high speeds or contact between participants, can result in serious injuries. These can occur due to a direct impact, or be related to the use of a sports or safety related product. Sports-related accidents result in a wide variety of injury mechanisms and types, and the conditions of an injury may be unclear. Our experts bring experience from a variety of backgrounds, including biomechanics and engineering, providing a comprehensive analysis of the potential for injury and the associated conditions.

A variety of factors are considered in the analysis of sports and recreational injuries. The movements being performed, as well as their speed, is important in the biomechanical analysis of injury production, as injury tolerances are often decreased with a higher loading speed. If present, the loading caused by a direct impact and the accelerations caused to the rest of the body are also analyzed to determine the forces acting on the injured body. Concussions, for example may result from both direct impact to the head or a sudden acceleration of the head and neck. NBI’s biomechanics experts are practiced in analyzing a variety of injury mechanisms and scenarios, allowing our experience to be applied to a wide range of sports-related injury cases.

Additionally, the external conditions at the time of an accident are often considered in injury analysis. The state of the facility and equipment being used are important to conditions causing an injury. Inspections of the scene of an accident and any equipment involved allow our experts to assess the quality of maintenance and safety. In cases involving protective equipment, the quality of its fit and appropriateness of use for the activity being considered is important in determining if the equipment was used correctly. In activities in which participants are taught or given instructions, their quality and the amount of supervision may be assessed from a human factors perspective to determine if unclear directions may have contributed to the cause of the injury.

Take for example a brain injury thought to be caused by a cycling accident in which the cyclist was wearing a helmet. In assessing if the injury was expected to be prevented based on the helmet’s effectiveness threshold, the accident conditions are analyzed to determine the forces experienced at the head during the impact. The impact speed may be determined based on physical evidence, or through digital data collection if a wearable fitness device was used by the cyclist. Through physics-based analysis, our experts can determine the acceleration experienced by the head as a result of the accident, and the potential for injury can be assessed based on a comparison with injury tolerances. Additionally, helmet testing can be performed to determine if the damage sustained in the accident is consistent with calculated forces. The fit of the helmet on the cyclist may also be assessed, to determine if it was used in a way which would allow for maximum protection. Based on these considerations, the role of the helmet in the mechanism for injury can be analyzed.

Leading Experts


Manon Limousis-Gayda, MS, CXLT