The new underwear, which looks like the shorts worn by professional cyclists, will not stop bullets or shrapnel but is designed to prevent dirt and other debris from entering wounds to the genitals or femoral arteries and causing infection. Made of sturdy silk, the so-called “ballistic boxers” are treated with antimicrobial agents to prevent such infections…

Though troops wear helmets, heavy boots and protective vests with front-flaps over the genitals, there is little to stop the damage inflicted when a bomb explodes beneath a soldier or Marine on a walking patrol.

“It’s almost as if [the Taliban] have developed these bombs to inflict the maximum damage,” said Navy Cmdr. James L’Esperance, a urologist who has treated wounded Marines and soldiers.