Analysis of the Frequency and Mechanism of Injury to Warfighters in the Under-body Blast Environment 2018-22-0014
During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, improvised explosive devices were used strategically and with increasing frequency. To effectively design countermeasures for this environment, the Department of Defense identified the need for an under-body blast-specific Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin (WIAMan). To help with this design, information on Warfighter injuries in mounted under-body blast attacks was obtained from the Joint Trauma Analysis and Prevention of Injury in Combat program through their Request for Information interface. The events selected were evaluated by Department of the Army personnel to confirm they were representative of the loading environment expected for the WIAMan. A military case review was conducted for all AIS 2+ fractures with supporting radiology. In Warfighters whose injuries were reviewed, 79% had a foot, ankle or leg AIS 2+ fracture. Distal tibia, distal fibula, and calcaneus fractures were the most prevalent. The most common injury mechanisms were bending with probable vehicle contact (leg) and compression (foot). The most severe injuries sustained by Warfighters were to the pelvis, lumbar spine, and thoracic spine. These injuries were attributed to a compressive load from the seat pan that directly loaded the pelvis or created flexion in the lumbar spine. Rare types of injuries included severe abdominal organ injury, severe brain injury, and cervical spine injury. These typically occurred in conjunction with other fractures. Mitigating the frequently observed skeletal injuries using the WIAMan would have substantial long-term benefits for Warfighters.