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What You Should Know / August 19, 2011

www.washingtonpost.com -- The U.S. military is working to protect troops against an increasingly common type of injury in Afghanistan: groin wounds. Four months ago, the Army put in a rush order for $2 million worth of ballistic underwear designed to better protect service members. Recently, the Army again put in a rush order – this time for $19 million for “ballistic groin protection and armored exterior shorts.” There’s a good reason to take a hard look at pelvic protection. As a result of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, troops in Afghanistan are suffering more and more blunt trauma injuries to their pelvic areas and genitals. The injuries can lead to internal bleeding and in some cases be fatal. From 2009 to 2010, the proportion of injured troops suffering wounds to their genital areas rose from 4.8 to 9.1 percent — a 90 percent increase — according to a report by a group of surgeons who studied casualties at the main U.S. military medical facility in Germany, where virtually every evacuated soldier stops en route to the United States. Of the 142 soldiers with “genitourinary wounds” who arrived at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in 2010, 40 percent suffered an injury to the testicles.

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