Sgt. Zachary Mayne, former team leader of 3rd Ranger Battalion, has suffered two separate combat traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) during his deployments to Afghanistan. In an interview with SOFREP, he said that,

…my second blast TBI definitely shifted my views on the whole issue. I only had headaches for a few days from the first, and I felt guilty receiving a Purple Heart for something so insignificant. The second one changed almost every important aspect of my life. My mood, sleep, attention, memory, confidence, and energy were thrown off-balance. My shrapnel wounds healed within a few weeks, but I’m still dealing with the fallout from the TBI over a year and a half later. Ironically, if you aren’t covered in blood, people don’t take your injuries as seriously — especially other Rangers. I was guilty of that too. It’s the wounds that didn’t make me bleed that have caused the most damage in my life and there aren’t even scars I can point to for them.”

The study of TBIs has been an emerging medical science of late. More attention has shifted to the injuries sustained in car accidents, sports injuries and of course, service members exposed to explosions. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have been a hallmark of the Global War on Terror, an effective way for otherwise poorly trained and poorly armed insurgents to do significant damage to American troops. IEDs can be victim operated, timed or controlled remotely and will cause a wide variety of injuries, ranging from amputations to severe shrapnel wounds — and traumatic brain injuries.

Upon further medical investigation, researchers have found some distinct differences between blast TBIs and the kind of TBI that you would get from a football game or a car accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that, “Bombs and explosions can cause unique patterns of injury seldom seen outside combat.” According to the Department of Neuroscience from the Uniformed Services University,