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How many brain injuries are too many?

In a speech delivered at Harvard Medical School, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff said that the military is considering pulling service members out of combat operations if they have sustained three concussions.

Mullen said, "I don't know what the right number is, but 30 is way too many. I'm literally on the verge of saying, you know, 'Hey, it's two or it's three (mild TBIs) and you're out,' "

It is estimated that A RAND Corp. study early last year estimated that up to 300,000 service members may have suffered a mild TBI in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The defense department is reportedly following the lead of professional football in trying to place a limit on the number of concussions an individual can sustain before being pulled out of play for the season. 

Having acknowledged that any concussion can cause serious and permanent brain damage, allowing service members to sustain multiple concussions before being pulled out of combat, is not the full answer.  Before any service member who sustains a concussion is allowed to return to combat, that service member needs to be fully evaluated to determine that they are symptom free.  If they are not, then they should not be allowed to return to combat.

You can read the full story in USA Today: Joint Chief’s Chairman seeks brain injury limit.



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