According to the research provided in a study released last week, the Army could reduce the chances of a soldier suffering from brain injury simply by having them wear a helmet one size larger and containing slightly thicker padding.
The study in Long Island found that as little as a Enlarge Closen eighth of an inch more cushion could decrease impact force on the skull by up to 24% – a substantial difference when determining whether or not brain trauma is on the menu.
Brain injury is a common occurrence on the battlefield of Afghanistan, and the Army is looking to verify the findings and then to move toward issuing larger helmets with the extra padding. Concussions are common among troops knocked about inside armored vehicles or flung to the ground while on foot patrols.
The results of the research and development are very encouraging. The work warrants field testing on a limited and experimental basis, starting with a brigade of soldiers. For a widespread policy and wardrobe change, more research and validation of the findings are necessary.
During the summer of 2010 alone, battlefield doctors diagnosed more than 300 service members per month with concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A smaller number of service members were diagnosed with more moderate or severe head wounds.
A New York Brain Injury Law Specialist says the effectiveness and economic brilliance of the study is that it offers an answer that is drawn from equipment the Army already has. “This is what appears to be an off-the-shelf solution.”
Helmets currently weigh about 5½ pounds. Upgrading to one size larger would add about 4 ounces of weight to the headgear. The study found that adding padding beyond an eighth of an inch provided only slightly better protection, and since they are concerned and unwilling to create helmets that are too large or heavy for soldiers to maneuver in, they are working with the idea of the 1/8 inch padding.
Although this discovery by Bronx scientists improves protection against a blow to the head, soldiers still need a bulletproof helmet and one that will resist blast waves. Only then will the brains of soldiers be completely protected from TBIs on the battlefield.
Soldiers affected by a TBI should seek legal counsel from a NYC Brain Injury Attorney if their branch of military doesn’t offer adequate financial aid to recuperate.