Explosions cause all sorts of injuries on the battlefield, but some are difficult to spot. Due to the risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI), American soldiers must 'stand down' for 24 hours’ medical testing if caught within 50 metres of an explosive blast. This may interrupt a mission, but more importantly, it may lead to delayed effects on the brain being missed. So attention has turned to analysing the force of a blast and not just the patient. Coin-sized shock sensors worn of the soldiers’ body armour can be analysed in the field, pinpointing the soldiers at risk. The technology, called Blast Load Assessment Sense and Test (BLAST), may soon be given to marines during training exercises like this one. Military medics hope to strike a balance between the health of their troops and reducing unnecessary downtime for those lucky enough to avoid the lasting effects of explosions.
Written by John Ankers
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