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Brain Injuries As A Result of Warfare

In the previous blog, we noted that the Los Angeles Times October 5, 2009 edition contained an article regarding brain injuries on the sports field. That article also addressed brain injury suffered in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hotspot areas. Platoon sergeants and unit commanders are repeatedly confronted with the problems of whether or not one of their soldiers, in the wake of an explosion, car bombs or other perils, have suffered a brain injury. The officers often get confused answers and detect lingering symptoms of a concussion.

According to the article, the troops that suffer concussive blast waves rippling out from an explosion are causing brain injuries that are very similar to concussions caused by sports, collisions, falls, and automobile accidents. Deep inside the brain of the soldier there is a wound, no different than that suffered by the automobile accident victim, slip and fall victim or a sports player suffering from a collision on the field. Through 2009, nearly 9,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have been evaluated and/or treated for traumatic brain injury. However, according to the Los Angeles Times article, a recent assessment by the RAND Corporation estimates that at least 180,000 and as many at 360,000 U.S. troops serving in those wars may have sustained head trauma capable of causing a brain injury.