Accident reconstruction

8 Jul

Since my return to the site of the accident the other day, I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about how the locations of my various injuries might reveal some information about how I hit the ground. Unfortunately, the only conclusion I’ve come to (so far) is that something very complicated must have happened because there was evidence of contact with the ground in so many places.

Here is what I think is the complete list of body parts which showed evidence of hitting the ground:

  • Right cheek (abrasions to the right of eye and mouth, black eye)
  • Right earlobe (minor abrasion)
  • Right side of upper lip (two chipped teeth and a cut which was sutured)
  • Right side of chin (laceration was sutured)
  • Neck (very minor scratches)
  • Top of right shoulder (abrasion)
  • Left elbow (small abrasion)
  • Right elbow (large abrasion, some soreness for a few weeks after accident)
  • Back of left hand (minor abrasions just below bottom knuckles)
  • Palm of left hand (skin stripped from an area near the wrist)
  • Back of right hand (small abrasions on lowest knuckle of index finger)
  • Legs (various scratches and scrapes, none bad enough to bandage)

There were probably a number of minor scratches on my torso, but none seemed particularly significant at the time. Note that there’s no reason to believe that the left side of my face (where the mandibular fracture was) made contact with the ground. The fracture was most likely caused by the force to the right side of my face.

The one thing that seems pretty clear from the injuries is that I fell on the right side of my body. This is something I had assumed since the day of the accident, and something that seems consistent with the accident having happened while turning right. Beyond that, it’s hard to say much. It hardly seems ¬†geometrically possible that I could have fallen in such a way that all of these body parts could have come in contact with the ground. Here are a few of the more puzzling questions:

  • How did I manage to scrape both the front and back of my left hand? I’m just baffled. I really don’t have a clue.
  • How could I have scraped the top of my shoulder against the ground? Uneven pavement might have helped. Other than that, I don’t know.
  • How did I scrape both of my elbows when falling on the right side?
  • How did I scrape my elbows and my hands, but nothing on the arms in between?

While I typed these questions, I actually thought of an explanation for how I might have gone down. Here’s my best guess. After losing control of the bike, I fell to the right, with my right shoulder and face hitting the ground but my hands remaining on the handlebars. As my body slowed down but the bike continued skidding, my hands let go of the handlebars, and with the left side of my body moving faster than the right, I sort of rolled over so that both my left and right arms hit the ground. This course of events would seem to explain the second and third of my questions, but not the first or fourth.

It’s really all quite a mystery, and I’ll probably never know what really happened.

4 Responses to “Accident reconstruction”

  1. jawesomechick September 1, 2009 at 11:30 pm #

    It’s funny, I have a lot of really weird abrasions that don’t make any sense too. I think it must be because I was going downhill and probably slid down the hill a little after I fell maybe? Most of them were pretty bad abrasions at first but healed completely within two weeks leaving behind those white/pink spots of new skin. Some were gone within the first days (minor burns I guess), and some are still healing. I too will never know what happened.

    By the way, I tried to start a blog and now I started over again. It’s pretty crappy right now but hopefully it will get better:

  2. jawesomechick September 1, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    Okay not your blog, mine is Sorry

  3. Stefan June 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to make this blog. I broke my jaw 17 days ago and your blog has helped to give me a much more vivid idea of the recovery process than the doctors have given me even though I have a bit of a different break and I’m sure my process will be somewhat different (I broke my jaw in the “other way” that your ER doctors told you about. In my bicycle accident I hit directly on my jaw causing three breaks. One directly in the middle of my chin needing a titanium plate and one on each side of my mandible high up where it meets my skull needing some screws). Again, thanks for your work. I look forward to my part of recovery where I can eat anything I can slurp.

    • Adam Merberg June 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

      Sorry to hear about your accident, Stefan. That sounds more than painful enough to make me retract the quip I made to the doctor about the “other way” to break my jaw (“I guess I’ll have to try that another time”). Things will certainly be a bit different for you than they were for me, but I hope the information I’ve put down will be useful in some way. If you want to share anything about your recovery, that’s always welcome here, or if you want to create your own blog, that could be useful.

      Best wishes for your recovery.

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