The U.S. military has seen an increase in the
number of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) from prolonged combat in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Marines and soldiers have greatly suffered TBI-related injuries
from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), RPG attacks, and similar ambushes
These coordinated attacks against coalition troops
both wound and kill personnel, with wounded soldiers treated in rehab centers
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just a few years ago, many of these soldiers
would have arrived stateside without receiving any pre-medical screening able
to pinpoint possible medical and mental issues.
Immediate treatment at these polytrauma
centers overseas helps provide assistance, and soldiers can head back into
combat according to Military Times.
The U.S. Army can better manage TBI suffered in
combat without sending a soldier back to the United States. If not treated
immediately, researchers believe the brain injury leads to both emotional and
physical issues. TBI also have been a problem in the United States, with 1.4
million new cases reported each year.
Similar to military breakthroughs, the private
industry has made strong developments, including the hope to one day aid
in brain cell recovery through the use of stem cells. Mild traumatic brain
injury also is often ignored by soldiers, with Army doctors pleading with soldiers
to come forward if they've endured a concussion.
As the number of TBI cases increased, the
Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has also tried to keep up by increasing
disability compensation for TBI cases. Furthermore, screening and evaluation
efforts by the VA help soldiers get faster treatment -- but continued errors
within the VA mental health department has led to confusion and misdiagnosis.