Blast injury patient receiving care

Blast Injury Centre

Civilian engineers and scientists work alongside military doctors to reduce the effects of roadside bombs or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Studies into blast injuries at Imperial College London

The Royal British Legion-funded Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College London is the first collaboration of its kind in the UK, where civilian engineers and scientists work alongside military doctors to reduce the effects of roadside bombs or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). 

IEDs are the leading cause of death and injury for Service personnel on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Supported by charitable funding, the goals of the new Centre are to increase understanding about blast injury patterns, improve treatments and recovery and develop better ways of protecting those serving in current and future conflicts - reducing the long-term impacts of such injuries on individuals, their families and the community.

Explore our introduction to the Legion-funded Centre for Blast Injury Studies.

The Royal British Legion provided £5 million to establish the Centre with Imperial College London leading on the scientific research, which builds on the work already carried out by the Imperial Blast research group at the College.

The Legion also participates in the strategic direction of the Centre so that the Centre's work can complement the Legion's existing range of support for wounded, injured and sick serving men and women, as well as ex-serving personnel and their families.

"Previously, Service men and women who were wounded from blasts would have died from their injuries, and now military protection, medical science and practice has improved greatly so that there is a greater prospect of survival. We now need to assess the effects of blasts on these survivors. We urgently need to know more, so that we can protect and treat people more effectively. This Centre can make a real difference to the survival and quality of life of those serving in conflicts." Professor Anthony Bull, Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London and Director of Centre for Blast Injury Studies.

Understanding how blasts affect the body internally in more detail could lead to new therapies and better outcomes for patients.

Comments from injured ex-Servicemen

Legion beneficiary, Aron Shelton, 27, formerly of 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, had his leg amputated in 2008 following an incident in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was travelling in hit a roadside bomb. He has been advised that he'll most probably have to have his other leg amputated in the near future.

"The blast that took my leg took my mate's life. If this research can save lives and limbs in the future then it can only be a good thing. This is why I support the Legion and the Poppy Appeal - donations go directly into funding projects like this." Aron Shelton

Triple amputee and former Royal Marine Commando, 28, was on a routine patrol in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED on Christmas Eve, 2007. He needed 28 pints of blood to save his life and lost both of his legs and an arm. Mark now volunteers for the Legion helping others who need the charity's assistance.

"I very nearly lost my life for my country, so of course I absolutely welcome any research to better understand blast injuries and to treat and equip injured Service personnel in the future. It's a very real problem for the lads serving out in Afghanistan today and I'm glad the Legion is funding this research." Mark Ormrod


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