It is estimated that 10–20% of United States soldiers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) have suffered at least one instance of blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) with many reporting persistent symptomology and long-term effects. This variation in blast response may be related to the complexity of blast waves and the many mechanisms of injury, including over-pressurization due to the shock wave and potential for blunt impacts to the head from shrapnel or from other indirect impacts (e.g., building, ground, and vehicle). To help differentiate the effects of primary, secondary, and tertiary effects of blast, a custom sensor was developed to simultaneously measure over-pressurization and blunt impact. Moreover, a custom, complementary filter was designed to differentiate the measurements of blunt (low-frequency bandwidth) from over-pressurization (high-frequency bandwidth). The custom sensor was evaluated in the laboratory using a shock tube to simulate shock waves and a drop fixture to simulate head impacts. Both bare sensors and sensor embedded within an ACH helmet coupon were compared to laboratory reference transducers under multiple loading conditions (n = 5) and trials at each condition (n = 3). For all comparative measures, peak magnitude, peak impulse, and cross-correlation measures, R² values, were greater than 0.900 indicating excellent agreement of peak measurements and time-series comparisons with laboratory measures.
Concussion; Brain injury; Military; Blast; Head