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Support Operation Blue Shield and LEO brain health

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Program update:  OPERATION BLUE SHIELD has officially launched, and has its first group in the program! The LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT'S S.W.A.T. Team just completed Phase I:  Education and training on sources of acoustic and blast overpressure exposure, blast injury, and how blast dosimetry can be used to promote brain health.  Phase II starts in February, and Phase III later this year.  The initial goal will fund all 3 phases of OPERATION BLUE SHIELD for the LAPD S.W.A.T.  brain health and blast monitoring program at no cost to the department for up to 2 years and help us expand the program to other S.W.A.T. teams. This covers education and training on acoustic and blast injury, site surveys and risk assessment, and the cost to purchase commercially available blast sensors to gauge up the teams. With your support we can continue to provide this invaluable service to other S.W.A.T. teams across the U.S. to expand our fight against blast-related traumatic brain injury within the Law Enforcement community.  

Help us give police officers on S.W.A.T. teams and their doctors the tools they need to fight blast-related concussions!

After 23 years of serving his community, Eric Patricks medically retired from his career in Law Enforcement due to a BLAST-RELATED TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (bTBI). His service included S.W.A.T. with a K9, Investigations, Patrol, Patrol with a K9, and he helped train hundreds of SWAT teams across the United States in Tactical Rail Response to Railway threats after 9/11. He was exposed to low-level blast waves during a variety of training exercises to stay prepared for whatever was thrown his way, but no personnel exposure record exists that links these events to his injury. This information could have been used by Eric and his doctors to make critical decisions about his brain health during his career. We want to fix this for current and future officers who serve on these teams, and with your help we can give them the tools to fight bTBI.  Since his injury, Eric combats short-term memory loss and problems concentrating even with medication. While he can manage his symptoms, there are many that are far worse off who succumb to their injury or commit suicide. Eric reached out to our team with the hope that we would help prevent what he’s experiencing in others and increase awareness of blast injury within the Law Enforcement community. What gets measured gets managed, so we answered his call with our GoFundMe campaign called OPERATION BLUE SHIELD, a brain health and blast-monitoring program designed to preserve and prolong the careers of those who currently protect and serve our communities.

Blast-monitoring occurs in the military, why not in Law Enforcement?

While the military has the DoD to fund their blast-monitoring effort, Law Enforcement agencies at the national level need a big brother to facilitate similar programs.  Through your generous support, we want to be that big brother and provide this invaluable service to S.W.A.T. teams across the US at no cost to the departments and officers who participate in our program.  This includes: Phase 1)  Launch blast-related TBI awareness campaigns to help educate police officers on blast waves, blast injury, and brain health, Phase 2) Site survey and risk-assessment, and 3) Distribute commercially available blast sensor dosimeters to S.W.A.T. operators, training instructors, and range safety officers throughout the duration of the program. 

Personnel blast monitoring is as easy as wearing a pager and can provide critical information pertaining to the physical hazards related to blast waves.  As radiologists wear dosimeters to capture and understand occupational radiation exposure, Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs), just like operators in the military, can wear small portable blast sensor dosimeters to capture events related to their daily training exercises to maintain departmental qualifications and to be ready for any potential threat they may encounter in the line of duty, BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP TO PROVIDE THESE DEVICES AND MONITORING SERVICES AT NO COST TO POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND OFFICERS WHO ENROLL TO DEMONSTRATE THE VALUE OF BLAST MONITORING. Our goal is to eventually provide this service to all high-risk first responders across the U.S.  We believe our program could become the tipping point needed to bring widespread awareness to this invisible threat. 

Why this is important

TBI is an invisible wound that can harm and can even kill our men and women in uniform. Most people are aware that players of impact sports have an increased risk of brain injury.  By definition, anyone who has had a concussion, loss or altered state of consciousness, possibly has had some form of brain injury. Think about a knock out punch here. Some recover very quickly, some battle chronic symptoms for life.  Now what happens to the brain during subconcussive impact?  Like getting punched with a jab, or hitting helmets over and over.  The evidence is accumulating that repetitive subconcussive impact may lead to injury as well. 

When it comes to blast waves, most people think of big explosions from bombs and IEDs.  These high explosives can lead to people being knockout and/or death.  But what about the jab or subconcussive blast, pressure from just using weapons or non-lethal devices.  Unfortunately, not enough attention is given to the harmful role of subconcussive blast waves (like getting hit in the head, but from pressure) in TBI in the law enforcement community, which can not only end a career, but can also impede an officer, like Eric for life. 

Recent preclinical and clinical research indicates a link between blast-induced TBI, cognitive impairments, and underlying microscopic changes commonly associated with neurodegeneration(1-3). Furthermore, TBI is associated with an elevated risk for suicide (4). In a survey of military and LEO populations, the prevalence of repeated Blast wave exposure in training and increased severity of symptoms in those exposed warrants blast monitoring program in military and Law Enforcement personnel (5). OPERATION BLUE SHIELD IS A CRITICAL FIRST STEP TO IDENTIFY OFFICERS WHO ARE AT HIGH-RISK OF BLAST EXPOSURE.

(Courtesy: Frank Larkin)

Our Mission

BLAST ANALYTICS AND MITIGATION, INC. (BAaM) launched earlier this year as a strategic consulting and weapon testing company to support ongoing efforts within the DoD to fulfill the NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT CONGRESSIONAL MANDATES 2018 SECTION 734, 2019 SECTION 253, AND 2020 SECTION 716 to measure and mitigate the effects of blast waves on US troops. The DoD has spent years and millions of dollars researching this topic, and are now in the process of building a blast monitoring program for high-risk US troops (6).  Early in 2020, Eric reached out to our team to discuss his experience with blast waves in training and his ongoing struggles following years of low-level blast exposure.  Since then, we have been obsessed with building a parallel blast monitoring program for the Law Enforcement community to identify current LEOs who may be at high-risk of blast exposure.

(Video credit: US Navy MCS 1st Class Abe McNatt)


·  Increase awareness about the relationship between blast wave injury and TBI in the LEO community

·  Identify high-risk operators who take repetitive low-level blast wave exposure throughout their career

·  Help departmental and union leadership understand blast wave exposure, mitigation strategies and preservation of the force tactics with the goal of enhancing current and future LEOs overall quality of life while serving their communities and throughout retirement with their families

·  Create a blast-surveillance programs and distribute blast dosimeters to SWAT teams who enroll the program

Our goal

The campaign designed to cover the cost of the program to enroll high risk officers for up to five years.  The more money we raise through this campaign, the more officers we can enroll and the longer we can operate the program at no charge and include additional first responders who may be at risk as well.  We hope to gain a better understanding of which training exercises pose an increased risk of blast exposure, identify those that may require longitudinal monitoring throughout their career, and then scale this program up into a sustainable longitudinal blast monitoring program for Law Enforcement across the US.  Help us help those who protect and serve, so that we can possibly intercept current and future officers from following the same trajectories that Eric and so many others that have invisible injuries from dedicating their lives to protecting and serving our communities.

(1) Dickstein, D. L., De Gasperi, R., Gama Sosa, M. A., Perez-Garcia, G., Short, J. A., Sosa, H., Perez, G. M., Tschiffely, A. E., Dams-O’Connor, K., Pullman, M. Y., Knesaurek, K., Knutsen, A., Pham, D. L., Soleimani, L., Jordan, B. D., Gordon, W. A., Delman, B. N., Shumyatsky, G., Shahim, P. P., … Elder, G. A. (2020). Brain and blood biomarkers of tauopathy and neuronal injury in humans and rats with neurobehavioral syndromes following blast exposure. Molecular Psychiatry.

(2) Shively, S. B., Horkayne-Szakaly, I., Jones, R. V., Kelly, J. P., Armstrong, R. C., & Perl, D. P. (2016). Characterisation of interface astroglial scarring in the human brain after blast exposure: a post-mortem case series. The Lancet Neurology, 15(9).

(3) Thangavelu, B., LaValle, C. R., Egnoto, M. J., Nemes, J., Boutté, A. M., & Kamimori, G. H. (2020). Overpressure Exposure From.50-Caliber Rifle Training Is Associated With Increased Amyloid Beta Peptides in Serum. Frontiers in Neurology, 11.

(4) Brenner, L., Adams, R., Hostetter, T., Hoffmire, C., Stearns-Yoder, K., & Forster, J. (2019). Suicide and TBI among Individuals Seeking Veterans Health Affairs Services between Fiscal Years 2006-2015. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 100(10).

(5) Carr, W., Polejaeva, E., Grome, A., Crandall, B., La Valle, C., Eonta, S. E., & Young, L. A. (2015). Relation of repeated low-level blast exposure with symptomology similar to concussion. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 30(1).



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