National Brain Injury Awareness Month

Tuesday March 5, 2013

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 TBIs may include falls, motor vehicle crashes, injuries 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 neurological status at the time of injury. The overwhelming majority of TBIs 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 has invested over $530 million to improve access to care, quality of care, research, as well as screening and surveillance for Soldiers with TBI and provides a standardized, comprehensive program delivering a continuum of integrated care from point-of-injury to return to duty or transition from active duty. 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.

In late 2009, the Army implemented its own mild TBI(mTBI)/concussive injury management strategy of “Educate, Train, Treat, and Track.” In 2010, DOD outlined a new policy for TBI care in the deployed setting. This policy was recently codified as a DOD instruction and explicitly directs that any deployed Soldier who is involved in a potentially concussive event, must undergo a medical evaluation and have a minimum rest period. Medical and rehabilitation providers deployed far forward on the battlefield promptly identify and treat Soldiers with concussion, refer to higher levels of care if needed, and conduct follow-up medical evaluations before returning these Soldiers back to duty.

Why is this important to the Army?

According to DOD’s Military Health System, over 147,000 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.

What continued efforts 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 Army hospital that provides TBI care, increase tele-health infrastructure, and train medical providers. In order to accomplish these goals, the Army collaborates with many partners ranging from DOD to academic institutions to deliver the best TBI care possible.


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