Traumatic Brain Injury

Monday, March 2, 2015

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. TBIs are classified at the time of injury as mild, moderate, severe, or penetrating.

The vast majority of traumatic brain injuries that occur in the Army are mild TBIs, also known as concussions. Early identification and treatment following a concussion are essential to maximizing recovery.

What has the Army done?

In June 2013, the Army published HQDA EXORD 165-13: Department of the Army Guidance for Management of Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the Garrison Setting. The policy directs that any Soldier who is involved in a potentially concussive event, such as being involved in a motor vehicle crash, must undergo a medical evaluation for concussion. For those Soldiers diagnosed with a concussion, HQDA EXORD 165-13 mandates a minimum 24-hour recovery period. The garrison policy mirrors the Department of Defense’s policy for concussion management in the deployed setting (DOD Instruction 6490.11).

What does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army will continue to aggressively educate all Department of the Army personnel about TBI, conduct vital research, provide evidence-based TBI care, and track patient outcomes. We will also continue to collaborate with the many partners ranging from those in the Department of Defense to academic institutions to learn more about the brain and how it heals in order to deliver the best TBI care possible. The desired end-state is to deliver responsive, reliable, and relevant TBI care for the Soldiers, their family members, the retirees, and other beneficiaries.

Why is this important to the Army?

According to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, more than 179,000 Army personnel have sustained a TBI since January 2000. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 250,000 children in the United States were treated in emergency departments for concussion or more severe brain injuries in 2009. 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 Soldiers and their families.

Army Medicine is, Serving to Heal, Honored to Serve.

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