Injuries are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and the ability to treat these successfully has life-changing implications for those involved, as well as a large socio-economic impact. Traumatic injuries disproportionately affect resource-limited countries, with 90% of both injuries and injury-related deaths occurring in LMICs. While we have seen global responses to infectious diseases such as HIV and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, traumatic injuries account for around 11% of the current Global Burden of Disease, and nearly 5 million deaths per year. Despite being one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and with an annual increase in debilitating injuries, not enough is being done to address these challenges.
The research on the treatment and understanding of traumatic injuries does not fall on medicine alone. In order to adopt a holistic approach to tackling traumatic injuries, multidisciplinary and cross-cutting action must be taken. Traumatic injury involves the transfer of energy into tissue. Understanding the mechanisms behind this can help to determine and differentiate injury type, severity and outcomes. For example, the amount of energy deposited and its distribution are scenario-dependent, being less intense in a fall or automotive accident than in a blast or ballistic injury.
Further multidisciplinary research is needed to understand the physics of injury mechanisms (i.e. how energy is deposited and transmits through tissue) and how this relates to biological response and respective health issues. Beyond the cause of injury, appropriate response, treatment and long-term healthcare presents multiple challenges across health systems.
Further collaborative research can help to develop prevention, protection and treatment strategies and interventions for traumatic injuries, while also informing context-appropriate policy development to improve safety with the potential for far reaching socio-economic impacts.