Since the start of the United States’ armed engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, many military members have fallen victim to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other explosive blasts. As most people know, IEDs have been a major contributing factor to the death toll of Americans in the Middle East. A lot of servicemembers have survived these blasts with visible injuries and others have walked away unscathed, or so they thought.
According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, in 2017 it was reported that approximately 350,000 military personnel had experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) since 2000. It was estimated that anywhere from 11 to 23 percent of deployed personnel had been exposed to a TBI event. There is such a wide range in the estimate because many individuals either didn’t report their injuries or didn’t realize they had experienced a TBI at the time they were exposed to a blast.
It was estimated that approximately 50 percent of the individuals who experienced a TBI also exhibited Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Before the true dangers and repercussions of TBIs were understood, many operators claimed they would experience concussive blasts while outside the wire, or on a mission, to only go out the next night and operate all over again.