Diagnosing and treating traumatic brain injuries among military service members is a major focus of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, 352,619 U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries from 2000 through the second quarter of 2016. Over the years, the numbers have increased. In 2000, for example, 10,958 service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and in 2015, the last year for which complete statistics are available, there were 22,672 service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.
Service Members With Traumatic Brain Injuries Deserve Help
Generally, there are five important steps that need to be taken in order to help a service member who suffers a traumatic brain injury. Some of these steps should be taken by the service member, some by his family, some by his doctors, some by the government, and some by the community. They include:
- Awareness. Members of the military and their loved ones should be aware of the signs and symptoms of all head injuries and be educated about the effects of traumatic brain injuries. This includes all forms of the injury from mild concussions to severe brain damage.
- Research. An emphasis on brain injury research—as well as an emphasis on teaching medical students about traumatic brain injuries—will be important to providing better treatment and recovery for veterans with brain injuries.
- Diagnosis. The sooner our veterans are diagnosed with a brain injury, the sooner they can access the medical care, attention, and information they need.
- Treatment. Individualized treatment plans need to be developed to meet the short and long term needs of an injured service member.
- Ongoing care. In addition to medical treatment, many service members require ongoing care to help them with everyday activities.
Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most devastating injuries that a military service member can sustain—and the number of TBIs in veterans has skyrocketed during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you or a loved one with a head injury needs assistance with veterans’ disability benefits, please contact an experienced attorney today via this website or by phone at 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.