Everyone had helmets, but some of them were hidden inside the pillowcases. Some of the cadets were wearing body armor. Blood flowed freely. Medevacs were done, and wide-ranging checks for concussions occurred afterwards.
From the New York Times:
"West Point cadets had mixed reactions to the injuries this year. Some saw them as a rite of passage in a school known for being tough; others saw a lack of judgment and restraint.
“At first the body count, people were joking about it,” a female first-year cadet said. “My friends were really excited. And right after, when we learned how many people had gotten hurt, everyone felt totally hard-core. I know it looks weird from the outside, but it really bonds us.”
But when she saw a male cadet being loaded into an ambulance outside her dorm room, she began to have second thoughts.
“If you are an officer, you are supposed to make good decisions and follow the rules. You are supposed to mediate when everyone wants to go out and kill everyone,” she said. “The goal was to have fun, and it ended up some guys just chose to hurt people.”"