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November 1957

Whiplash Injuries of the Head and Neck: Clinical and Medicolegal Considerations in Management

Author Affiliations

Memphis, Tenn.
From the Sub-Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of Tennessee College of Medicine.; Associate Professor of Neurology and Assistant Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery), University of Tennessee College of Medicine.

AMA Arch Surg. 1957;75(5):828-833. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1957.01280170138048

Injuries in which the unfixed head and neck are suddenly jerked by abrupt arrest of the body in motion, or sudden propulsion of the body from rest, have come to be designated as "whiplash injuries." Such injuries were perhaps first recognized when in World War I the Navy began to launch planes from the decks of battleships and cruisers by catapult. The problem was quickly met by the provision of a protective headrest for the pilot plus an adequate shoulder harness. In the present era, however, the bulk of whipping injuries to the head and neck are the result of motor vehicle accidents, particularly rear-end collisions, which constitute about 15% of such accidents. Unfortunately, this serious problem has not had the same prompt solution through preventive