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Ayrton Sennas Death Throws Light on
Head Trauma
Ayrton Sennas fatal accident at a Formula 1 race twenty
years ago is still fresh in the minds of many. But with
advanced diagnostics and MRI, head lows need not
always turn out to e fatal.
The death of one of Braz!"# mo#t famo$# ath!ete#% trp!e
&orm$!a 'ne (&1) *or!d
+hampon ,-rton .enna% on
/a- 1% 1990 n a h1h #peed
cra#h at the .an /arno 2rand
3r4 &1 race n 5mo!a% 5ta!-
d$e to a head n6$r- had #ent
#hockwa7e# thro$1ho$t the #port# wor!d and n h# home
co$ntr-. 87en now% 29 -ear# on from h# death% the rpp!e#
contn$e to be 1enerated.
The Man
.enna wa#% and #t!! #% con#dered one of the 1reate#t
racn1 dr7er# e7er and wa# known for h# nten#e
a11re##on behnd the whee! of #ome of the wor!d"# fa#te#t
machne#. *hene7er he competed% he competed to wn and
nothn1 !e##.
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B$t t wa#n"t on!- h# nat$ra! racn1 ta!ent that endeared
hm e7en to peop!e aro$nd the wor!d who dd not fo!!ow
the #port. 5t wa# h# char#ma and% #ome #a-% the :atn
charm that #et hm apart from the other &1 and a$to racn1
dr7er# of the tme. ;# ph!anthropca! act7te# back n h#
nat7e Braz!% h# o7era!! warm and frend!- character% and
h# !o7e for the Bb!e 1a7e hm an a!mo#t #ant-!ke a!!$re
tho$1h h# r7a!# on the track% prmar!- &renchman and
q$adr$p!e &1 *or!d +hampon ,!an 3ro#t% were on the
rece7n1 end of #ome na#t-% dan1ero$# and condemnab!e
mo7e# n h# q$e#t to wn at a!! co#t#.
Mechanical Debris Delivered the Fatal Blow
The accdent that k!!ed .enna need not ha7e been fata! had
the pece# of h# *!!am# &*16 <ena$!t"# r1ht front
#$#pen#on% whch d#nte1rated on a h1h #peed mpact
wth the barrer#% m##ed h# he!met b- a few nche#. The
#afet- feat$re# of the cockpt had pre7ented an- n6$re# or
broken bone# affectn1 h# bod-. B$t #nce% n &orm$!a 1
racn1 car# a# n ,mercan 5nd-+ar#% the dr7er"# head #
e4po#ed and protected on!- b- the cra#h he!met% t wa# $p
to th# protect7e 1ear to protect h# head and bran from the
mpact of f!-n1 debr#.
Crash Helmet Could ot !rotect
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The he!met fa!ed th# tme%
and a #$#pen#on part #
#$#pected to ha7e penetrated
the cra#h he!met. ,nother
pece of the #$#pen#on
e7dent!- ht hm thro$1h the
7#or n the re1on
mmedate!- abo7e the r1ht e-e. 5t cracked the 7#or and
man1!ed that fronta! area of the he!met where the 7#or
o7er!ap# the #tr$ct$re. 'ne of the#e mpact# wa# fata! and
ca$#ed a #1nfcant amo$nt of b!ood !o##. 5t # a!#o
#ometme# #$11e#ted that on mpact wth the barrer# the
r1ht front tre had #hot $p nto the ar% mo7ed back and ht
h# he!met% p$#hn1 .enna"# head frm!- nto the car"#
cockpt headre#t at the back whch co$!d ha7e ca$#ed
po##b!- fata! #k$!! fract$re#. 5n an- ca#e% ,-rton .enna
ded of head tra$ma.
Senna Could ot be Saved
Tho$1h doctor# and paramedc# tred ther be#t to
re#$#ctate hm on the track and at the ho#pta!% to whch he
wa# ar!fted% he wa# prono$nced dead. 5n fact he wa#
near!- dead at the #cene of the accdent% b$t h# heart
e7ent$a!!- #topped beatn1 at the ho#pta!. Bran #can# at
the ho#pta! re7ea!ed ma##7e bran dama1e% conformn1
what paramedc# had rea!zed wh!e attendn1 to hm at the
#cene.
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*h!e he!met techno!o1- ha# ad7anced #nce and e4otc
matera!# #$ch a# carbon fber ha7e made he!met# m$ch
#tron1er b$t !1hter% t 6$#t 1oe# to #how that the he!met
cannot a!wa-# pre7ent death tho$1h t co$!d pre7ent #ero$#
n6$r- n #ome crc$m#tance# and mo#t #$re!- n mnor
accdent#.
Accidents "nvolving
Head Blows ot
Always Deadly
*h!e .enna wa# be-ond
the pont of reco7er-%
another Braz!an &1 racer &e!pe /a##a wa#n"t% when a
mechanca! part of the car ahead penetrated h# he!met
dama1n1 h# e-e and ca$#n1 #ero$# n6$re# to h# bran
d$rn1 the ;$n1aran 2rand 3r4 q$a!f-n1 #e##on n
2999. 3rompt da1no#e# thro$1h proced$re# nc!$dn1 /<5
#can# had en#$red that the dama1e to the bran and the e-e
were acc$rate!- da1no#ed and treatment pro7ded. 5n !e##
than f7e month# /a##a wa# back n the cockpt of the
&errar.
How Advanced M#" Scan Hel$s
The /<5 #can # q$te a !fe#a7er n that t co$!d he!p
dentf- the !e7e! of dama1e to the bran and 1$de the
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doctor# on the approprate treatment. ,d7anced /<5
#canner# can e4amne the bran"# anatom- and t# ab!t- to
perform mportant f$ncton#. Ther #$peror ma1e q$a!t-
en#$re# detecton of ##$e# wth the bran nc!$dn1:
&!$d wthn the bran or #$rro$ndn1 t
B!eedn1
B!ood c!ot#
T$mor#
.ez$re#
.troke
B!$rred 7#on
,ne$r-#m#
:e#on#
,!zhemer"# d#ea#e
/enn1t#
5##$e# wth the ner7e# connectn1 the bran to the e-e#
and ear#
,n ad7anced m$!t-#peca!t- hea!thcare center # eq$pped
wth #$peror /<5 = da1no#tc# #er7ce#. *th re!ab!e
eq$pment #$ch a# open /<5% peop!e wth head n6$re# can
be pro7ded wth prompt and acc$rate treatment. 5t doe#
he!p #a7e !7e#.
3o#ted b- Health%uest
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