Traumatic brain injury has been deemed the signature wound of the war in Iraq among Americans and now, new research has surfaced, which states that U.S. soldier helmets may actually be increasing the severity of a TBI following an IED blast. IED’s are improvised explosive devices that have caused many American soldier injuries.
The study was actually to test the potential implementation of sensors on helmets so that care from medical professional could better administered.
However, what scientists ended up finding was that following an IED explosion “shockwaves from a blast hits a helmeted head, and can penetrate the gap between the helmet and head, travel up inside the helmet, and come down on the side of the head facing away from the explosion.” This would mean that due to the design of U.S. helmets, more soldiers are suffering from stronger blasts during explosions and increasing their risk of TBI.
While researchers are claiming that the redistribution of the blast pressure and the physics surrounding the new discovery may not be accurate, it would explain why TBI has become so prevalent among U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq. Additionally, in 2005, an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that “helmets cannot completely protect the face, head and neck, nor do they prevent the kind of closed brain injuries often produced by blasts.” This coupled with the new results of the study presented at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) earlier this year, may be reason enough for the implementation of new helmets among soldiers.
Brain Injury and U.S. Soldiers
According to various news reports and physician statements, both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are “signature wounds” of the war in Iraq among American soldiers. Because of the increased risk of helmets endangering a victim’s life, it may be necessary to develop TBI litigation.
A USA Today news article reported the results of a February 2008 Army health report which found that approximately 11 percent of 2,195 soldiers “showed signs of mild brain injury, but fewer than half were actually identified and evaluated in the field”.
Additionally, in an article from the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005, it was reported that “TBI appears to account for a larger proportion of casualties than it has in other recent U.S. wars.” While the reason for this can only be predicted by researchers and scientists, many have put blame on both inadequate protective gear among soldiers as well as the new technology of IEDs by insurgents.
Caring For TBI Victims
It can be difficult for friends and family to provide adequate care for a veteran returning from the war in Iraq because of the extensive damage that may have been incurred by a traumatic brain injury victim. However, a bill is currently circulating within the U.S. House that would potentially provide monetary assistance for Iraq veterans and caretakers who often cannot afford in-home nurses and must work full time to care for an injured soldier.
In addition, victims of TBI may also need to develop litigation that will reward them with the monetary compensation necessary for paying for treatments as well as care, so the burden is not falling solely on family and friends. By contacting a brain injury lawyer, an individual can receive a free legal consultation on the development of brain injury litigation.