Reader Dan on the Army’s New Training Concerning Brain Injuries

Reader Dan sends me a link to an article and some comments…


The entire Army is to learn about brain, stress disorders according to this article:

By The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 07/17/2007 09:45:32 PM MDT
Washington – The Army is launching an education program to teach 1 million soldiers how to recognize symptoms of brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, the two signature injuries of the Iraq war.

The program aims to encourage troops to get treatment – and to help erase the stigma of doing so, Army officials said Tuesday.

Beginning next week, a program will begin to educate the entire Army within 90 days, whether at home or overseas, and including active military, the Army Reserves and the Army National Guard.

Everyone is to receive a one- hour briefing on brain injuries and stress, in which teachers will be equipped with videos, slides and a list of expected questions and answers.

It will be done through a rarely used “chain teach” program, that is, the subject is taught to leaders, who then teach it to soldiers, continuing down through the Army’s chain of command.

The program is one of many being taken by the Army and the Department of Defense to try to keep up with a rising number of patients who have overwhelmed the system.

Roadside bombs are the top killer in Iraq and also responsible for brain injuries ranging from mild concussions up to severe trauma.

Exposure to combat, especially for long and repeated tours, also has caused increasing stress and mental health problems among soldiers.

Officials say that as much as 20 percent of troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with stress symptoms or brain injury.

This is an interesting response from the Army and DoD concerning this issue. Not having seen the one hour presentation, I will not comment yet. I assume this is a first response. I also assume it is affecting the way soldiers are performing. How such information helps stigma and career paths remains to be seen, of course, but at least the issue will be open to the general public as well.

How the issue helps with treatment and overwhelming the care system also remains to be seen, because the budget costs have not been resolved to date. For today, I will smile.


This post was by Reader Dan.