Nearly 1,400 U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq this year sustained mild brain injuries or concussions after they were exposed to a blast or traumatic event during combat, USA Today reports.
The data were obtained under a new military program, which requires service members to take a break from combat for 24 hours and be monitored for signs of brain injury if they are within 165 feet of a blast or serious incident. The data span from August 2010, when the monitoring and treatment program was launched, through June this year. During the 11-month period, the military pulled about 9,000 servicemembers from combat to check for signs of mild brain injury after they had been involved in events that caused no obvious wounds.
According to Army Col. Jamie Grimes, a neurologist deployed in Afghanistan and director of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, about 90% of the mild trauma cases went away a few days after the incidents. Grimes noted that while troops with more persistent issues were sent home, those with less-severe injuries were moved to special centers for treatment and monitored for at least a week to ensure that their injuries had healed (Zoroya, USA Today, 9/28).
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