New Recommendations for Post-Concussion Care for Military Personnel

There is new medical guidance for treatment and rehabilitation after a servicemember suffers a concussion. The new guidelines were published in the latest issue of The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, the official journal of the Brain Injury Association of America. This special issue was devoted to recent research on traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the military.

The previous guidelines used were developed using data from sports-related injuries. Although athletes and servicemembers share many similar traits, the guidelines for sports-related concussion injuries were not always relevant to military service, prompting a new set of guidelines specifically for the military.

The new guidelines mandate a 24-hour minimum recovery period for any servicemember who suffers his or her first mild TBI (mTBI). Second or third concussions mandate longer recovery periods. Following the mandatory rest period, a servicemember requires reevaluation for symptoms during a period of activity, even if no symptoms were present during rest.

In cases where servicemembers show concussion symptoms such as headache, blurred vision, or dizziness during the period of activity, the guidelines provide a six-step process for gradual return to active duty. Each step lasts 24 hours and gradually increases the intensity and type of activity the servicemember in which the servicemember may participate. It ends with a full return to unrestricted duty.

At the end of the six days, a doctor fully evaluates the servicemember to ensure that symptoms are improving. If the program does not result in improvement, their condition is upgraded to a moderate or severe TBI and they are referred to undergo a higher level of care.

Traumatic brain injury is one of the most common types of active duty injury. If you are a veteran who suffered a head injury during active duty and now suffer neurological or cognitive disorders due to the injury, you may be entitled to disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

When you’re ready to get started with your disability claim, contact Veterans Help Group ® for assistance and support. Call today – 1-855-855-8992.