Blunt Force Trauma: Definition, Symptoms & Examples

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Blunt force trauma is an injury that occurs when an object hits or strikes a part of the body. In this lesson, learn about the definition, symptoms, and examples of blunt force trauma.

Blunt Force Trauma

Dan is a 21-year-old college baseball player. One day at practice, Dan was standing near the first base dugout while some of this teammates were taking fielding practice. While Dan was watching his teammates in the field, he did not notice one of his other teammates was practicing his swing about 5 feet behind where he was standing.

The coach yelled at Dan and told him to grab his glove to go play second base. Dan then turned around the headed to the dugout to get his glove. However, as Dan headed back to the dugout, his teammate who was practicing his swing hit Dan across his head with the bat. Dan was knocked out cold from the blunt force trauma of the bat.

Blunt force trauma (also referred to simply as blunt trauma) is an injury that is caused by an object striking or hitting the body. This type of injury or trauma can occur to any part of the body. Blunt force trauma is different from penetrating trauma because penetrating trauma involves an object entering the body, such as a bullet or knife wound, while blunt force trauma does not.

Blunt Force Trauma:Symptoms

The most common symptom of blunt force trauma is pain. Other symptoms of blunt force trauma include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Abrasions

Bruises can be a symptom of blunt force trauma.

The symptoms of blunt force trauma will vary greatly depending on how hard the object hits the body and where the object hits the body. For example, if an object hits the shoulder with only a small amount of force, the injury will likely be very minor and might only involve a tiny bruise or slight pain. However, if an object hits the shoulder with a large amount of force, this could produce a lot of pain and bruising and possibly cause fractures to the bones in the shoulder.

As mentioned before, the location of the blunt force trauma also impacts the symptoms and severity of the injury. Blunt force trauma to the head can cause very serious symptoms such as dizziness, concussions, and even death. Additionally, major blunt force trauma to the abdominal area can possibly cause contusions and ruptures to the abdominal organs.

Blunt Force Trauma: Examples

There are countless examples of blunt force trauma. However, some common examples include:

  • Car accidents
  • Bike accidents
  • Punches and kicks
  • Sports collisions
  • Falls

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