Military TBI Concerns: How Explosions Can Cause Irreparable Brain Injuries

According the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), nearly 20% of all military veterans suffer from some sort of traumatic brain injury as a result of service. This means that currently 1 in 5 soldiers are or will be diagnosed with a TBI at some point in their lives. Even though this number is alarmingly high, the VA estimates that it will only get worse in the years to come.

A recent book published by the U.S. Army Medical Department suggests that the reason battle-related brain injuries have increased isn’t because of more injuries, but rather because more soldiers are surviving brain traumas that would have previously killed them. As protective gear technology and field medical care improves, more veterans are surviving explosions. Unfortunately, even advanced safety gear can’t guarantee 100% protection against explosive forces, especially when it comes to protecting the head and spine. As a result, even though more soldiers are surviving attacks and explosions, they are coming home with serious head and brain trauma.

Common Causes of Military TBIs

Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and the shock waves produced by detonations are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in military personnel. The VA and Army research suggest that veterans who are placed in close proximity to explosive forces have an increased chance over other soldiers of suffering TBIs. Therefore, Air Force and Navy personnel are less likely to sustain a TBI than Army and Marine personnel due to the concussive and violent nature of impact forces and blasts. These types of explosive forces can lead to various serious injuries including:

  • Concussions. An explosion can easily throw a soldier several feet and the shockwave, as well as the potential for the soldier’s skull to strike the ground, can cause his brain to be knocked around in the skull, causing bruising and swelling.
  • Closed head injuries. The force of the blast as well as any striking or impact force can cause brain hemorrhages, lacerations, hematomas and contusions.
  • Penetrative injuries. Flying pieces of shrapnel can become lodged in the brain, neck, and spine cutting off blood flow and nervous system communication to the brain.
  • Chemical exposure. Exposure to a blast area can cause a soldier to inhale toxic chemicals that can severely damage brain tissue.
  • Pressure damage. Blast waves can disrupt pressure within the skull leading to excessive pain, cognitive disruption, and psychological trauma.

We’re Here to Help

As a soldier who risked everything for your country, you deserve respect, support, and proper treatment for your injuries. If you are suffering from a traumatic brain injury, make sure you get the proper care and representation you need to help you in your recovery. Call us at (703) 591-0067 for a free consultation, and let us have the chance to fight for you.

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