Blast Monitoring

Blast Exposure Research

Effects of Blast Overpressure

Service Members, especially those in Special Operations Forces, can experience repeated subconcussive blast exposures (RSCBE) during training with high explosives (e.g., breacher activities) and heavy weapon systems (e.g., anti-tank recoilless rifles, heavy-caliber sniper rifles, etc.). 

Research within the Effects of Blast Overpressure initiative strives to better understand how RSCBE affects Warfighter brain health. Its newest study, entitled Investigating Training-Associated Blast Pathology (INVICTA), began during the summer of 2020. INVICTA builds upon previous blast exposure findings by assessing the short and long-term cognitive and bodily responses to RSCBE in Naval Special Warfare (NSW) heavy weapons trainees and instructors. With permission from NSW leadership, INVICTA is conducted during Navy SEAL Qualification Training and Unit Level Training. This study utilizes blast monitoring devices to measure and record each exposure. It pairs data from these devices with results from the study’s cognitive (e.g., memory, attention), physiological (e.g., blood, EEG) and functional (e.g., balance, vision, hearing) tests to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the brain’s response to RSCBE.

Additional information about the INVICTA study is detailed in the table below. Inquiries should be directed to

In the future, similar evaluations and assessments are planned for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel across all U.S. Armed Forces. This is because, individuals in this particular population have unique and frequent exposures to blasts and psychological stressors throughout their careers.   



Principal Investigator 





Investigating Training Associated Blast Pathology (INVICTA

Michael Roy: MD, MPH, COL (Ret) USA, Uniformed Services University 

Co-Principal Investigators 

David Keyser: PhD, Uniformed Services University 

Walter Carr: PhD, MAJ (Ret), USA, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research 

  • Conduct detailed baseline assessments prior to heavy weapons training 
  • Use monitoring devices to measure and record blast overpressure exposures 
  • Conduct various assessments at acute, subacute, and chronic time points to measure cognitive, physiological, and functional outcomes 
Identify the biomarkers that best indicate the impact of RSCBE on brain structure and functionNaval Special Warfare heavy weapons training participants (e.g., trainees and instructors) and active duty Navy controlsActive