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To brace or not to brace

There are a lot of rumors out there about whether or not you should brace if you know that you are about to be rear-ended in a crash. Many people argue that if you go limp like a drunk driver, then you be spared any injuries minus a few scratches and some bruising. I must admit, that I believed the same for many years.

How do you prevent soft tissue injuries?

In fact, there are countless stories where drunk drivers are the ones that are hurt the most. Here are the facts. When your body is “limp” and a vehicle hits yours, you become the pinball in the arcade machine. With your neck being the least protected and the most mechanically vulnerable part of your entire body, it has the greatest chance of being thrown around, creating more soft tissue injuries than if you properly braced. Your 9-14 pound head is being supported on a two-ounce bone and braced by a collection of small bones and muscles. It’s comparable to a bowling ball supported by a slinky.

What’s worse, your brain bounces around just as much, but is a whole lot more delicate than a bone, muscle, tendon, or ligament. With the brain being the control center of the body, the last thing you need is the gelatinous mass, called a brain, to be sloshing around inside your skull wreaking havoc with your ability to perform simple tasks such as focusing on what your child is saying to you.

So when you are about to get pounded by the distracted idiot behind you, follow these simple steps that just may save your lifestyle. Mash that brake pedal to the floor as hard as possible and don’t let off until the witnesses knock on your window (time moves much slower during these types of events). The next thing you need to do is push against the steering wheel without grasping your hands around the wheel. This will push your body to the back of the seat, closing the gap between the body and the seat. Lastly, push your head, neck and back as hard as you can against the seat, but in particular, the head restraint (headrest), as you most possibly can. Again, until one of the witnesses knocks on your window to make sure that you are ok. Following these steps may not prevent injury, but it will greatly minimize them.