Audio blasts from some military weapons may cause concussions, report finds 89.3 kpcc signs of a concussion in a toddler

When you fire it, the pressure wave feels like getting hit in the face, says Paul Scharre, a former Army Ranger who directs the technology and national security program at the Center. Scharre is a co-author of the center’s report: Protecting Warfighters from Blast Injury.

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military officials recognized that the blast wave from a roadside bomb could damage a person’s brain without leaving any visible sign of injury. And in 2010, the Pentagon issued a memo outlining steps to improve care of troops exposed to these explosions.

Every service member who is in a position where he or she might be exposed to blast waves should be wearing these devices, Scharre says. And we need to be recording that data, putting it in their record and then putting it in a database for medical studies.


Authors of the report also recommend steps to reduce service members’ exposure to blast waves during training exercises. For example, they say, the military should reduce the maximum number of times a person can fire certain weapons in a single day, and over several days.

When he got done talking, I said, ‘Well, don’t tell me — let me guess. At the end of the day you felt nauseous, you had a headache, you felt tired [and] all you wanted to do was take a Motrin, lay down and go to bed.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah.’ And I was like, ‘Well, that’s typical post-concussive symptoms there, buddy.’

The military should start treating personnel exposed to blast waves the way it treats people who work around hazardous radiation, Sims says — in other words, set a limit to how much blast exposure a person can receive during their military career.

When you fire it, the pressure wave feels like getting hit in the face, says Paul Scharre, a former Army Ranger who directs the technology and national security program at the Center. Scharre is a co-author of the center’s report: Protecting Warfighters from Blast Injury.

During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military officials recognized that the blast wave from a roadside bomb could damage a person’s brain without leaving any visible sign of injury. And in 2010, the Pentagon issued a memo outlining steps to improve care of troops exposed to these explosions.

Every service member who is in a position where he or she might be exposed to blast waves should be wearing these devices, Scharre says. And we need to be recording that data, putting it in their record and then putting it in a database for medical studies.

Authors of the report also recommend steps to reduce service members’ exposure to blast waves during training exercises. For example, they say, the military should reduce the maximum number of times a person can fire certain weapons in a single day, and over several days.

When he got done talking, I said, ‘Well, don’t tell me — let me guess. At the end of the day you felt nauseous, you had a headache, you felt tired [and] all you wanted to do was take a Motrin, lay down and go to bed.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah.’ And I was like, ‘Well, that’s typical post-concussive symptoms there, buddy.’

The military should start treating personnel exposed to blast waves the way it treats people who work around hazardous radiation, Sims says — in other words, set a limit to how much blast exposure a person can receive during their military career.