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What Speed does to Golf Balls (and Brains)

I saw this video and thought immediately of what happens to people (and their brains) involved in a car crash.

It's not a video of a brain -- that would be gruesome! -- but it's definitely food for thought.

This golf ball was traveling at 150 miles per hour when it hit a steel plate.

Notice both stages -- (1) the impact and (2) the bounce-back.

So, what's this got to do with brains?

Imagine someone driving at highway speeds (60-70 miles per hour? 100-120 km per hour?)

Then imagine what happens if their head hits the steel of the car in any way. (That's what seatbelts are made to prevent! Now you know why!!)

Then imagine what happens if the head hits something else hard -- like the steering wheel or the seat in front of them.

Still not so good even though the brain has the skull and cerebro-spinal fluid around it for protection.

Now imagine what happens if the brain inside the head doesn't hit the car or something in the car, but just moves forward that fast, hits the inside of the bony skull, then bounces back like that image in the video.

Don't think so? Remember that the brain is not solid -- it's soft, something like the consistency of soft tofu.

Now imagine that last one again --

And wear your seatbelt and drive gently.

Posted on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 14:12 by Registered CommenterDr Karen in | Comments2 Comments | References1 Reference

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Reader Comments (2)

WOW- thanks Dr.Karen for posting this. it's amazing how a golf ball (being a solid object) could bounce back and fourth like that off steel and even lose its shape! that really makes you think about what would happen it that golf ball was a brain!

June 6, 2010 | Registered CommenterMallory Woodward

Hi Mallory:
Exactly! Who would ever imagine something as hard as a golf ball could go flat!?

You're very welcome ;-)

June 7, 2010 | Registered CommenterDr Karen

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