After writing a series on Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Trauma Syndrome Disorder for active duty troops and National Guard, I am sad to post this item, in that it appears that the popular perception of the most common injuries among troops is still misunderstood. I also find that if I say TBI as an acronym, many civilians have no idea of what I am talking about.
The Army Times reports on TBI:
As Army officials announced the beginning of Brain Injury Awareness Month, they offered up a figure that makes it hard to believe anyone in the military could be unaware of the problem:
Between 45,000 and 90,000 troops have been treated for traumatic brain injury symptoms ranging from headaches to vision problems to an inability to function beyond a coma state.
Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, said between 10 percent and 20 percent of soldiers and Marines — about 180,000 people — have screened positive for TBI.
Yet military doctors still fight a culture in which some troops believe they can head right back into the fight after being exposed to a blast — even though high school football players know better than to play again for a few days — and commanders may decide to risk sending someone outside the wire after an injury because there aren’t enough people to make up a patrol team.
Experts at the U.S. Military Academy have said it’s important for someone who has suffered even mild TBI to avoid the risk of re-injuring the brain — especially the not-yet-fully-grown brain of someone younger than 24 — because a second injury can lead to permanent damage or even death.