Keeping soldiers healthy and combat ready while in combat is a very delicate balance commanders must maintain. New protocols that have been initiated place parameters on how commanders must maintain their soldiers’ health. New rules mandate soldiers within 165 feet of a blast, to include any soldier in buildings and vehicles hit by bombs, must be removed from the battlefield for at least 24 hours. During that time, they will be examined for concussions.
The result? Hundreds of soldiers are being diagnosed with concussions where they would not have been without the new rules being put in place. If soldiers suffer a second concussion before the first one is completely healed, the chances that soldier will develop permanent brain damage is increased.
This means for the last 8 years, potentially thousands of troops have suffered unnecessary brain damage. The new rules were implemented in July, and the amount of soldiers diagnosed with concussions rose to 370 from 62 in June. July to September produced over 1,000 soldiers diagnosed with concussions. By means of comparison, that is over double the amount of soldiers diagnosed with concussions the entire 4 months prior.
While knowing that thousands of soldiers are sustaining concussions on a regular basis is unsettling, it is much better to know of the conditions, treat them, and be able to prevent more severe brain damage from occurring. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) need to be given this type of attention considering the long-term damage they can cause.
The most frequent source of injury for soldiers are roadside bombs. They have become so commonplace, however, that most soldiers are just told to drive after suffering the blast. More studies must be completed in order to determine if a person’s brain is completely healed in the absence of symptoms.
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