Table 1

Non-ballistic head injuries suffered by military personnel

Location and dateHead injury type (main)Head injury cause (main)Comments
UK16 1944Casualty rate 2.1%ParachutingStudy of 20 777 UK service personnel
UK17 1948Concussion rate 12%ParachutingStudy of 280 000 UK service personnel from training schools. 0.05% of all jumps resulted in a casualty
USA18 1951–1962Concussion rate 34%
Fatality rate 5%
UK19 1964–1970Head injury rate 0.03%

Parachuting31 UK military parachutists. 84% of head injuries occurred on landing, amnesia of <1 h occurred in 77% of all cases
Germany20 1975–1982Injury rate 0.25%ParachutingTwo fatalities: 1בskull fracture’; 1בbrain injury
UK21 1987–1991Fractured skullVehicles (36%)
Machinery (22%)
Falls (30%)
Non-combat UK military personnel hospitalised for >24 h due to head injury
Overall injury rate 0.3%
Not known if helmet worn
ConcussionVehicles (33%)
Machinery (31%)
Falls (31%)
Intracranial injuryVehicles (27%)
Machinery (35%)
Falls (34%)
UK7 1978–1994Fatal injury rate 6%ParachutingStudy considered 83 hospitalised UK military parachutists
USA22 1985–1989Fatal injury rate 1.4%
Concussion rate 57%
Parachuting277 injured military parachutists
UK23 1991 Op GRANBY (Gulf)11 fatal injuries
60 intracranial injuries
38 concussion
24 open wounds
61 injuries caused by transport 61
41 injuries caused by machinery
153 UK military personnel were hospitalised due to head injuries; 8/11 fatal injuries were attributed to ballistic causes; 65 injured personnel received their injuries when on-duty and 48% of these were recorded as battle casualties. The mean length of hospital stay was 7.75 days
UK24 1997Fractured skullHelicopter blade impactStudy concluded that wearing the Mk6 helmet saved the life of the injured soldier
Afghanistan25 2002No head injuriesChinook crashStudy concluded that wearing helmets prevented serious head injuries
  • AIS, abbreviated injury score; DoD, Department of Defense; KIA, killed in action; MOD, Ministry of Defence; mTBI, mild traumatic brain injury; WIA, wounded in action; WWI; World War I.