National Brain Injury Awareness Month

Thursday March 1, 2012

What is it?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption of function in the brain resulting from a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury. Causes of traumatic brain injuries may include falls, motor vehicle crashes, assaults, and combat events such as blasts. Medical providers classify TBI as mild, moderate, severe, or penetrating primarily based on initial symptoms. The majority of traumatic brain injuries are mild, also known as "concussions." Receiving prompt medical care is essential to maximizing recovery.

What has the Army done?

The Army has invested over $530 million to improve access to care, quality of care, research, as well as screening and surveillance of Soldiers with TBI. The Army TBI enterprise management provides a standardized, comprehensive program that delivers a continuum of integrated care from point-of-injury to return to duty or transition from active duty.

In late 2009, the Army implemented a new mTBI/concussive injury management strategy, "Educate, Train, Treat, and Track" and in June 2010, a Department of Defense Directive Type Memorandum (DTM) outlined new guidelines for TBI care in the deployed setting. The DTM directs that any deployed Soldier who is involved in a potentially concussive event, such as being within close proximity to a blast, must undergo a medical evaluation and have a minimum rest period. Medical and rehabilitation providers deployed far forward on the battlefield promptly treat Soldiers with concussion, refer them to higher levels of care if needed, and conduct medical evaluations before returning these Soldiers back to duty.

What does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army will continue to aggressively educate all Soldiers about TBI, conduct vital research, continue neurocognitive testing, validate every MTF that provides TBI care, increase tele-health infrastructure, and train medical providers. It will also continue to collaborate with our many partners ranging from Department of Defense (DoD) to academic institutions to deliver the best TBI care possible. The desired end-state is to deliver responsive, reliable, and relevant TBI care that enhances Soldier and unit readiness, optimizes value, and transforms the care experience of our Soldiers and their families.

Why is this important to the Army?

According to the DoD's Military Health System, over 132,000 Soldiers have sustained a TBI since January 2000. TBI not only impacts mission integrity and force health protection, but also affects military family members. The Army remains committed to providing world-class healthcare for our wounded Soldiers and their families.

Army Medicine is "Serving to Heal…Honored to Serve."

Resources:

U.S. Army Medical Department
Defense and Brain Injury Center
Defense Centers of Excellence
Brain Injury Association of America
Brainline

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Senior Leaders are Saying

"When we talk about diversity, we can talk about women mixed with men, we can talk about different cultures, different experiences, different age groups. But when you have a diverse team, you are going to have a better resulting decision. I think it's very important that we all think about diversity when we're building teams and making decisions."

- Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy & Environment, while highlighting the Army's observance of March as Women's History Month, emphasizes the result of various studies which have shown that the "IQ of diverse teams" is better than the "IQ of homogeneous teams" when it came to decision making.

Assistant Secretary reflects on Women's History Month

What They're Saying

"All of us who are still alive, and came home alive, we owe those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice the hugest debt of gratitude."

- Sgt. Heather N. Wunderlich, one of the veteran invitee for the White House dinner, who deployed to Iraq twice as a flight medic, in a telephone interview earlier this week, expressed her own 'gratitude' to the 4,409 service members that U.S. lost in the Iraq War.

Iraq vets share experiences before White House dinner

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