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Congressional Briefing – July 10, 2015

In July, two AIMBE Fellows briefed congressional staff in the U.S. House of Representatives on breakthrough innovations in the field of injury biomechanics that are helping to keep us safe.The event, “Bioengineering Innovations from the Battlefield to the Football Field,” served to educate and inform policy makers about the importance of biomedical engineering research to address society’s grand challenges. It highlighted the role of federal funding for the nation’s science agencies as a means to lower health care costs and increase health and well-being.

Dr. Cynthia Bir, Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, presented recent findings from her work on how the human body responds to impacts from sports, cars, and the military.

Bir indicated that there is little research being utilized in equipment testing standards, with the exception of football gear. In this area, basic research can be applied to increase safety measures in order to reduce injury and medical expenses.

Dr. Stefan Duma, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, highlighted his research on eye injuries in combat, safety measures for pregnant women operating vehicles, safety in kids toys, and concussions on the field.

Duma demonstrated a study in which simple modifications in how youth practice for football games garnered a 50 percent reduction in head impacts. This research has broad implications, as 3 million kids play football at the youth level each year.