Soldiers are awarded Purple Hearts for being injured in combat, but not every injury qualified soldiers for the award. Recent scientific evidence concluded soldiers suffering even very short episodes of dizziness or headaches can be evidence of concussions. Accepting these findings, the Army is going to make more battlefield concussions adequate injuries for the Purple Heart award. Thousands of soldiers previously denied the Purple Heart will now be able to wear it on their uniform.
Although concussions have been on the qualifying injury list for Purple Hearts for decades, the decision to grant the award always rested with the battlefield commander or doctor. Many of those people operated under the “no blood no Purple Heart” mentality, essentially ruling out most soldiers with concussions.
The Army’s new rules take out the guess work and supply much more definitive terms for what will qualify soldiers for being awarded a Purple Heart. Soldiers are required to receive medical care as part of being given the award, and under the new rules that can be as little as rest and Tylenol.
Symptoms of concussions include:
- momentary loss of consciousness or memory;
- headache; and
- nausea or light sensitivity.
Since 2001, more than 80,000 American soldiers have suffered concussions, and many of those have happened in combat. Compare that to the 26,000 Purple Hearts issued for other wounds in that same time period. It is not known how many of those 80,000 concussions will qualify for the Purple Heart.
Not every branch has the same standards for the award. This is significant because being awarded a Purple Heart means that soldier has priority enrollment for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits as well as co-pays for VA hospital care.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.