The Human Body v Physics — Or, Graham: The Human Designed To Survive An Auto Accident
by Mike McKeon
The human body’s design allows us to perform vital functions, often without any conscious effort. From breathing to blinking, to actions carried out on the cellular level, the amount of miniscule processes we rely on to get through the day is mind boggling. While our anatomical and biological systems are a marvel, anyone who has dealt with muscle aches and other bodily injuries knows that our bodies are not indestructible. Scientists have opined that our spines are especially imperfect for our everyday purposes simply because we walk upright on two feet instead of walking around on all fours, putting added pressure on our lower back.
If gravity alone can put strain on our spines to the point of causing some folks inexorable pain, imagine what happens when the forces of a traumatic event, such as a motor vehicle, are transferred to our bodies. We’re clearly not built to withstand these accidents without harm. But what if we were? What would need to be changed? And what in the world would we even look like? Well, meet Graham. An interactive, life-sized sculpture with a rather unique look.
Graham was created by an artist with input from a trauma surgeon, and a crash-investigation expert in conjunction with the Australian Transport Accident Commission to highlight just how vulnerable our bodies are to car accidents. Graham can be explored in all his glory at Meetgraham.com.au, a 360-degree interactive tool.
When a car stops suddenly after an accident, many parts of the body – especially one’s head – will continue to move due to the transfer of energy from the forces involved in the accident. Everyone has heard of “whiplash,” which occurs because there is insufficient strength in the human neck to prevent the head from jolting forward in a crash. The head initially moves forward, suddenly stops, and then suddenly jolts backwards, causing an unintended hyper-extension of both the neck and spine.
Graham’s designers dealt with this issue simply by removing the neck entirely, sacrificing mobility to make his head and neck less susceptible to injuries associated with a common car accident. Some of Graham’s ribs were also extended upwards to reach his skull, providing a built-in brace-like structure that protects his head from injury when there is a sudden movement.
Graham’s other life saving (and potential love interest preventing) features include a massive skull to protect the brain; a flat, fatty face capable of absorbing the energy of an impact; stronger, thicker skin: ribs fortified with their own air bags; knees capable of bending in all directions; and an extra leg joint that allows him to jump out of the way of a moving vehicle.
Because of his form, Graham would likely have no trouble walking away from the scene of an accident without sustaining a serious injury. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for you or me. While Graham’s look might induce a few laughs, the drastic changes our bodies would need in order to remain injury free after an event as common as a car accident is sobering and eye opening.
If you’re not built like Graham and were injured in a motor vehicle accident, give us a call. The Tallahassee attorneys at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks are here to help.