Troops in Iraq have rush-ordered thousands of Kevlar shoulder guards and blastproof sunglasses. The reason why: a newly-formed Combat Trauma Registry that tracks exactly where and how soldiers get wounded.Using that Registry, Lt. Col. Kelly Bal, an orthopedic surgeon with the Army's 82nd Airborne, first detected the pattern of wounds to exposed shoulders, the Christian Science Montior explains.
Colonel Bal jerry-rigged a Kevlar groin protector from a typical armored vest to fit around the upper arm, says McDonald. A prototype saved a soldier. The Army quickly bought 6,000, some 2,000 of which are now being used by marines. The Marines have ordered 25,000 more shoulder protectors.A similar story surrounds the wide use of Wiley-X sunglasses with ballistic lenses and padded frames, and toughened goggles - a direct result of blast wounds to the eyes from IEDs...Experts are also working on a better earplug that permits frequencies like voices while protecting against the noise of a nearby grenade blast. Surgeons here also expect more coverage of neck and lower abdomen areas. "The future is mining that database," 1st Marine Expeditionary Force chief surgeon Capt. Eric McDonald says, "to find the places where benefits [of new measures] outweigh risks."