Brain Wars: The Purple Heart | Military COs denying Purple Hearts to soldiers with TBI - Frontline
Military commanders are routinely denying The Purple Heart to soldiers with Traumatic Barin Injury (TBI).
FAQs — Traumatic Brain Injury
Drawn from joint research and reporting by NPR, ProPublica and FRONTLINE
What is it? And how does it differ from a concussion?
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a sudden trauma to the brain caused by force. A severe TBI can leave a person almost incapable of functioning. But even a mild TBI [mTBI] — a concussion — can lead to a range of debilitating symptoms: headaches, balance problems, hearing problems, lack of self-control, mood changes, ringing in the ears, problems sleeping and memory loss. While most people recover from a mild TBI, it can take months, even years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], “approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually” in the United States, and “the majority of TBIs each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.” For some basics on the science behind TBIs, see NOVA scienceNOW’s “Brain Trauma” video and website.
The brain injuries sustained by soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are most often caused by explosives. See ProPublica’s graphic showing what happens to the brain during and after a blast.
How many U.S. soldiers have TBI?
The exact number is hard to pinpoint. The Pentagon says about 115,000 soldiers have mTBI, while the RAND Corporation study Invisible Wounds of War suggests the much higher number of 400,000 total TBIs, the majority of which are mild.