73 Concussions

First image: A human skull moving forward and stopping abruptly upon impact with a solid wall. A cutaway shows the brain continuing to move forward and impacting the front of the skull. Second image: The same skull with cutaway and injured area on the frontal lobe of the brain highlighted.
Diagram of a concussion. “Concussion Anatomy” by Max Andrews via wikimedia commons.

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Concussions are a direct result of Newton’s Laws of Motion. The bone of the skull itself is relatively strong, therefore it can handle large forces that give large to the skull, as described by of Motion. However, the brain is surrounded by cerebral-spinal fluid inside the skull and thus when the skull accelerates the brain tends to continue its original motion, ( of Motion). Aside from some slowing due to within the fluid, the brain will then strike the hard inside surface of the skull at nearly full and come to rest, or even bounce and change direction, over a very small time interval. This massive acceleration on the brain coincides with a force on the brain that is much greater than brain tissue can handle, causing a brain injury. In simple terms, just because the skull can handle an impact, that doesn’t mean the brain can.


  1. Concussion Anatomy by Max Andrews - Own work. This file was derived from: Concussion mechanics.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19490504

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