Veteranclaims’s Blog

October 28, 2010

Military Doctors Diagnosing More Concussion Injuries

This doctor’s referenced here seems to be of the belief that “the order helps prevent permanent brain damage that can result if a servicemember has a second concussion before the first one heals“.

This overly broad generalization ignores the fact that brain damage has occurred with the first concussion.

Scientists warn, however, that it is unclear whether the brain has healed even if symptoms go away.

ow these troops just need to make sure that their medical records adequately reflect the diagnosis and that they obtain a copy of these medical records for any potential disability filings they may have to file in the future.

Full Article at: More troops’ concussions diagnosed under new rules

By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

KANDAHAR AIR BASE, Afghanistan — “Military doctors are diagnosing hundreds of concussions among combat troops because of an unprecedented order requiring them to leave the battlefield for 24 hours after being exposed to a blast.

Doctors say the order helps prevent permanent brain damage that can result if a servicemember has a second concussion before the first one heals.

“For the last eight years prior to the implementation of these protocols, we weren’t doing things the right way,” said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army vice chief of staff.

Concussions among U.S. troops in Afghanistan increased from 62 diagnosed cases in June to 370 in July when the new rules were imposed, according to the U.S. Central Command, which oversees combat here.

From July through September, more than 1,000 soldiers, Marines and other U.S. servicemembers were identified with concussions, more than twice the number diagnosed during the previous four months, Central Command says.

TROOPS’ HEAD INJURIES: More diagnosed under new rules

“I’m certainly never happy to see the rate of any wound increase, (but) I think the data clearly demonstrates that TBI (traumatic brain injury) is getting the attention it deserves,” says Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who pushed for the new rules. “Battlefield leaders are taking the issue seriously and getting their troops the help they need.”

Under the new policy, troops caught within 165 feet of a blast (about half the length of a football field) must be pulled from the battlefield for at least 24 hours and examined for evidence of a concussion. The same goes for troops in a vehicle or building struck by a bomb.

Symptoms include brief loss of consciousness, clouded thinking, dizziness and headaches. Ninety percent recover from their symptoms and return to combat, although this can take days or weeks.

The data show that concussions may be far more common in combat than previously known and may suggest that thousands of these casualties may have been missed earlier in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Mullen says.

Roadside bombs are the most common source of injuries to U.S. troops. Troops in the past tended to shake off blast effects and continue fighting, according to Army field studies.

To treat symptoms of concussions, the military has set up five “rest centers” here where troops can recover, says Army Lt. Col. Kristofer Radcliffe, a neurologist supervising the effort. Scientists warn, however, that it is unclear whether the brain has healed even if symptoms go away.

“Unfortunately, we still don’t know,” says Ibolja Cernak, a brain-injury scientist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.”

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: