Bulletproof Face Shields Could Head Off Soldier Trauma

This image shows the detailed anatomical features of the brain that MIT analyzes using models that simulate explosive blasts. Source: MIT. Image credit: Michelle Nyein

A study released Monday by MIT suggests that adding a bulletproof face shield to soldier helmets could reduce the incidence of traumatic brain injuries in combat troops. According to the paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “adding a face shield to the standard-issue helmet worn by the vast majority of U.S. ground troops could significantly reduce traumatic brain injury. The extra protection offered by such a shield is critical because the face is the main pathway through which pressure waves from an explosion are transmitted to the brain.”

MIT reports that “more than half of all combat-related injuries sustained by U.S. troops are the result of explosions, and many of those involve injuries to the head. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, about 130,000 U.S. service members deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have sustained traumatic brain injuries — ranging from concussion to long-term brain damage and death — as a result of an explosion.”

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