When you enlist into the military you vow to protect and to serve our country. You are made aware of the possibility of being deployed. You are trained to undergo any and every obstacle possible as a unit never leaving a man behind. And then war occurs and you’re drafted, hand picked to join combat, putting into action all that you were taught and trained to do; exposing yourself to violent attacks involving bombs, explosives, etc. by you and the enemy during combat. Going into combat there is no telling what you will experience. So what is one of the things that can occur in result from that exposure? Well, there is a possibility that you can develop a TBI also known as a Traumatic Brain Injury.
- What is TBI?
A TBI is a brain dysfunction caused by an injury, usually a sudden violent blow/jolt to the head. It is also said to be like bruising of the brain. You may not develop a TBI. You may not even experience exposure to combat while on duty or serving a tour. However, you should be aware of your possibilities and the symptoms along with it, and better educate yourself in understanding the condition. A TBI can range from physical, sensory, and cognitive/mental symptoms. Some of these symptoms of a TBI that can occur are:
- blurry vision
- difficulty in concentrating
- mood changes
- loss of consciousness
Because a TBI can affect the functioning of the brain it is very important to report it to your superior or physician so that you can be screened for it immediate from when the injury or symptoms occur. Reason being is symptoms may not appear sudden after the injury and detecting the extent of damage or severity may often be difficult. Therefore, any vet who suffered from an injury to the head, accident, fall, fragment or bullet wound above shoulders, crash, as well as having been within close perimeters to an explosion while in service are recommended to be screened for a TBI. What does a TBI screen consist of? Testing’s used to assist in screening a veteran are:
- Glasgow coma scale
- Intracranial pressure monitor (in severe cases)
Once diagnosed and categorized by severity treatment can be discussed. For example, for severe TBI cases, surgery may be recommended. For the more mild/moderate TBI cases, the options vary from medication to rehabilitation treatment. It has been said by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center that approximately 90% of TBI cases are mild. Since 2000 the DOD (Department of Defense) reports that there are currently 352, 619 TBI diagnosed service members. That number does not include those who have not been diagnosed nor treated.
- How does this apply to you as a veteran?
Traumatic Brain Injuries were considered the “signature injury” of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, making it common to see in veterans who served during those tours. Veterans can be eligible for up to a 100 % disability rating on merely the injury/or symptoms being documented occurring during service and reported.