The majority of engineering studies that quantify the biomechanical response of the human head to blunt impacts have been focused primarily on replicating automotive-related trauma [1]. Relatively little biomechanical data exists on head response and skull fracture tolerance due to impacts with small surface area objects moving at high velocity, as can occur with the deployment of less-lethal kinetic energy munitions that are now available to police and military personnel. Law enforcement are trained to direct such munitions away from the head and at body regions least likely to sustain serious to life-threatening injury, such as the legs, however impacts to vital regions such as the head have occurred [2]. Previous research efforts have investigated facial impact response to blunt ballistic impacts however data regarding the temporo-parietal region are lacking and require study under these unique loading conditions [3]. Prior research has indicated that the scalp and soft tissue covering the skull are important factors to consider when studying impact response and skull fracture tolerance [4]. These data however have been limited primarily to impact velocities typical of the automotive crash environment. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the contribution of soft tissue to the biomechanical response and tolerance of the temporo-parietal region under blunt ballistic impact conditions.

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