Thursday, October 28, 2010

Military Takes Concussions Seriously

As I am traveling, I got to see a USA Today story about the new US military policy on concussions.  We are now taking soldiers, marines, sailors, and air folks (not so much) out of duty if they have a concussion.  With the bombs bursting in air and all, this is not an insignificant number of folks.  Should help generate better understanding of concussions.  But entire units might have to be pulled off the line after a major battle with close artillery/air support, right?  The article cites a retired general about the tradeoffs between readiness and caring for the troops.  I guess the numbers are small enough (although plenty of troops affected) that this is not that severe a problem---we are not losing entire units to the concussion doctors. 

Still, with better equipment and medical care, brain injuries are becoming a much bigger part of the post-combat health challenge.  This is good news in some ways--folks are surviving that would not have done so 10, 20, 50 years ago.  But the explosiveness of the new generations of IEDs (improvised bombs) also plays a role here. 

This story combined with the effort to cut suicides in the army reveals that these wars are more than just about KIA--the toll is high and getting higher still.

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