Problems that exist with the current screening and treatment processes of mild traumatic brain injury

The number of soldiers returning from combat with mild TBI continues to increase. Pach reveals the allegations from a report in which Fort Carson was visited by a member group from the Office of the Surgeon General Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force to evaluate the current TBI practices in response to the increasing number of TBI cases of soldiers from combat. The Task Force intended to come up with solutions for the identification, prevention, assessment, treatment, rehabilitation, family support and the assistance for the soldiers to transit to normal civilian life.

The report showed that the Fort Carson’s Soldier Readiness Center screen all the soldiers returning from combat and other posts for TBI. The current method for screening and treating TBI involves the soldiers being given a one page questionnaire, three to five days after they return from combat. This is repeated again after 90 to 180 days and if any signs of the conditions are detected, the affected soldiers are checked by a doctor.

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The problem with this screening and treating method is that there is limited research that shows the method to work for TBI caused by detonation of improvised explosive devices which is the case with majority of the soldiers. Existing screening and treating methods for TBI have been exclusively researched on in regards to sport and motor injuries (Snell & Halter, 25) and there are studies which show that the natures of injuries from these two sources are different. Therefore, the same intervention method cannot work for both explosive associated and sport associated injuries.

The mechanism of brain injury that is often sustained by the military personnel as a result of blast trauma can be qualitatively different from injuries that occur from motor vehicle accidents (Snell & Halter, 24). Mild TBI has the potential to go undetected and therefore untreated and this posse as a danger to the sufferer as it makes the patient vulnerable to further injury, especially when additional physical insults are sustained before the brain has had sufficient time to heal (Snell & Halter, 24).

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