Can YouTube Help Doctors Study the Science of Faceplanting?

When YouTube arrived at the beginning of this millennium, viral videos were not so different from what had long entertained us on America's Funniest Home Videos: adorable pets, funny kids, and painful accidents. And so we have faceplant gifs and faceplant supercuts and now, a scientific journal article based on a faceplant video on YouTube.

Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing has taken the article from the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery and spun a intriguing account of the science of faceplanting. You may remember this particular video: a young man on bike attempts to launch off a ramp on a dock. He misses, smashing face into dock. Massive facial fractures and YouTube humiliation aside, he turned out to be ok.

But have we learned anything, other than the hazards of showing off on camera? As Koerth-Baker finds out when speaking to other experts about the recent paper, the video is far too jankey and the frame rate too slow to prove any useful physics. But better video can be to study injury biomechanics—like footage of NFL players tackling each other at full speed.


We can't, after all, subject people to faceplant injuries for the sake of science. But we can, perhaps a bit dispiritingly, do so for the sake of entertainment. In any case, do check out the full piece at Boing Boing. [Boing Boing]

Top video: Faceplant supercut

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Och.... The accidents where the victims hands were immobilized are the worst.

Also, what happened to the lady who fell out of the grape crushing tub? Hilarious but it sounds like her operating system crashed.