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An apparatus and method for inflicting brain injury on a laboratory animal that employs a platform for supporting the laboratory animal. The platform defines an opening for positioning the head of the laboratory animal over the opening. A projectile is launched from a projectile launching device orientated below the opening of the platform. The projectile launching device has a means for propelling the projectile directly at and/or through the opening of said platform, thereby inflicting brain injury on the animal via either a pressure wave or concussive impact of the projectile. Without helmet, direct impact of the projectile results in severe traumatic brain injury. Use of helmet protects animals from skull fracture, subdural hematoma, intracerebral hemorrhage and contusion yet produces mild concussion-like pathology.