Invisible Wounds of War
Tens of thousands of servicemen and women are dealing with lasting brain damage as the Pentagon scrambles to treat these invisible wounds. David Martin reports.
The following is a script from “Invisible Wounds” which aired on May 5, 2013. David Martin is the correspondent. Mary Walsh, producer.
We all learned a lot in recent years about the dangers of head injuries from contact sports like football. We now know that a hard hit can cause brain damage that only becomes apparent after an athlete’s playing days are over. Football is violent, no doubt, but it’s nothing compared to war. And just as the National Football League has struggled to come to grips with head injuries so has the military - but on a much vaster scale.
An estimated quarter million servicemen and women have suffered concussions over the past decade of war. Tens of thousands — no one knows the precise number — are dealing with lasting brain damage. The Pentagon, which did not recognize the problem until the war in Iraq was almost over, is now scrambling to treat these invisible wounds. And soldiers suffering from them sometimes end up wishing they had a wound people could see.
Ben Richards: If I could trade traumatic brain injury for a single-leg amputation I’d probably do that in a second.
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