Traumatic Brain Injury

Wednesday June 27, 2012

What is it?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption of brain function 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, any hits to the head during sports, and combat-related events such as blasts. Medical providers classify TBI as mild, moderate, severe, or penetrating primarily based on initial symptoms. The overwhelming majority of traumatic brain injuries are mild, also known as "concussions." Early identification and receiving prompt medical care is essential to maximizing recovery.

What has the Army done?

The Army continues to invest heavily in improving access to care, quality of care, research, as well as screening and surveillance for Soldiers with TBI. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC) is leading a robust Blast Injury Research Program to address TBI evaluation and treatment.

The Army is also conducting scientific research on a blood test that can potentially be used on the battlefield to determine if a Soldier has sustained a brain injury. Another recent advancement involves collaboration with the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency in equipping some units with blast sensors to quantify the severity of a blast wave sustained in combat.

Theater commanders in Afghanistan have established a network of numerous centers dedicated to concussion/mild TBI (mTBI) care with MRI capability at three locations.

Another recent initiative involves partnering with the National Football League to help educate athletes, Soldiers, and Marines about the effects of brain injuries and the importance of recovery and time to allow the brain to heal after an injury.

What does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army will continue to aggressively educate all Soldiers about TBI, conduct vital research and ensure our providers are equipped to evaluate and treat these injuries. In order to accomplish these goals, the Army collaborates with many partners ranging from DOD to academic institutions to industry deliver the best TBI care possible.

Why is this important to the Army?

According to the DOD's Military Health System, over 141,600 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:

MRMC's Blast Injury Research Program
U.S. Army Medical Department
Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
Defense Centers of Excellence
Traumatic Brain Injury - TBI & Head Injury Resource
Brain Injury Association of America
To be launched by end July Army.mil: Traumatic Brain Injury
Related article: DARPA blast gauge quantifies blast exposure, leads to advancements in countering TBI

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