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New helmet design lowers risk of work-related brain injury in Army

A position in the armed forces is one of the most dangerous jobs a person can have. Whether serving with the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or any other division, service members put their lives on the line everyday to guard the security of our nation.

While the very nature of their job exposes service members to risks and dangers which cannot be completely avoided, there are certain measure that officials in each division of the armed forces and the Pentagon can take to avoid unnecessary work injuries among the Troops. A study from the researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has suggested a new way to keep Army service members safe and prevent brain injury: larger helmets with more padding.

According to USA Today, brain injury is a serious issue for US soldiers serving all over the world, but especially in Afghanistan. Members of the Army are issued a standard helmet as part of their protective armor, but the researchers at Lawrence suggest that minor changes in the structure of these helmets could go a long way towards better protecting a soldier's vulnerable head.

The study found that Army soldiers who wear a larger size helmet with an extra eighth of an inch of cushioning dramatically reduce their risk of suffering a head injury. This new helmet design reduces the impact of a blow to the head by 24 percent.

Reports from Afghanistan reveal that, during the summer of 2010, over 300 service members suffered from concussions and brain injuries each month. Army officials are hoping that new helmet regulations would help decrease that number and are conducting further research to confirm this study's findings.

Source: USA Today, "Larger helmet could guard against brain injury to troops." Gregg Zoroya, 18 April 2011

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Military helmets used to be metal pots designed to ward off stray shrapnel, and they also worked as good wash basins when placed on the ground. Now they're key components of a high-tech system that the Army says still needs some tweaking to help prevent traumatic brain injury. The Army's Advanced Combat Helmet consists of a protective shell woven out of synthetic fibers. It provides ballistics protection, as well as a foam-pad system to shield against the kind of blunt force trauma linked to TBI.
Last year the Army and the Joint IED Defeat Organization, which is concerned with improvised explosive devices, commissioned Lawrence Livermore Laboratory to compare the effectiveness of various military pads and pads used in football helmets to mitigate the severity of impacts.

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