NPR

Do U.S. Troops Risk Brain Injury When They Fire Heavy Weapons?

Some modern shoulder-fired weapons produce blast waves powerful enough to rattle the brain. A $30 million study aims to help the military figure out how much blast exposure, over time, is too much.
Coalition forces fire a Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle during a training exercise in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2013. Source: Spc. Justin Young

The U.S. military is trying to figure out whether certain heavy weapons are putting U.S. troops in danger.

The concern centers on the possibility of brain injuries from shoulder-fired weapons like the Carl Gustaf, a recoilless rifle that resembles a bazooka and is powerful enough to blow up a tank.

A single round for the Carl Gustaf can weigh nearly 10 pounds. The shell leaves the gun's barrel at more than 500 miles per hour. And as the weapon fires, it directs an explosive

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