It has been reported that upwards of 60% of returning Iraq war veterans suffer from some type of traumatic brain injury. Half of the returning veterans suffer the effects of mild tbi with the remainder suffering from both moderate and severe brain injury. The brain injuries include concussion, penetrating brain injury, skull fractures and coma.
While advanced body protective armor protects the body of a soldier, little protection is afforded to the head and brain which suffers the concussive effects of the high intensity explosions which the soldiers are exposed to. Other brain injury takes place as a result of penetrating missles and of course, car accidents.
There is increasing concern that many returning veterans are slipping through the cracks because they show no outward signs of physical injury. Yet, these soldiers who were victims of brain trauma exhibit the classic post concussion syndrome with problems of poor memory, difficulty in concentrating, disinhibition and loss of self control. Because of the alarming rate of brain injury in returning veterans, it has been recommended that all returning soldiers from Iraq be screened for the effects of traumatic brain injury.
You can hear an interesting report broadcast by NPR radio on brain and head trauma to returning veterans by clicking here.