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TBI Continues to Trouble the Military

Grace Hood
The solider readiness center at Fort Carson, CO.

In the wake of the 2007 Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal, then President George W. Bush promised the “best possible care” to wounded soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Years later, the military is still struggling to treat and diagnose the most common war wound: Traumatic Brain Injury. 

An NPR News investigation, in partnership with ProPublica, has found that military leaders are refusing to carry out a testing program as Congress ordered. Military's Brain-Testing Program A Debacle is the latest in the NPR/ProPublica series entitled "Brain Wars: How the Military is Failing its Wounded."

This issue isn't just contained to Washington, as investigations and reports from Fort Carson have shed light on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and it's deleterious effects here in Colorado.

One soldier, Shawn Lynch, had to fight for his diagnosis of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Grace Hood and Micheal de Yoanna found a tale of frustration in their investigation:

In reflecting on his experience, Staff Sergeant Lynch said he feels like the system never gave him the benefit of the doubt until his final appeal. But that's not how the Army sees it. When asked about Lynch's long and winding case, Col. Terrio at Fort Carson said: "That's exactly what we were working for is to make sure that if there was this chance that he could have possibly of sustained a traumatic brain injury that that would get documented for him." 

In October, Colorado Public News, reported that the Military Lags on Promising Treatment for Brain-injured Soldiers. Another Colorado veteran, Margaux Vair, suffered from TBI and has found relief through oxygen treatments. Again, however, the story seemed to be the same.

"Two years after assuring Congress it would immediately begin researching a promising treatment for soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the military is just getting started. The tests -- including at Fort Carson army base near Colorado Springs -- are designed to determine how soldiers with brain injuries respond to hyperbaric oxygen treatments. The delay has resulted in a growing number of people, including members of Congress and a former secretary of the army, accusing the military of dragging its feet."

Video courtesy of Colorado Public News

More can be found on the NPR/ProPublica investigation at the ProPublica website. [source: Testing Program Fails Soldiers, Leaving Brain Injuries Undetected ]

I’m not a Colorado native (did you know that "I'm from Missouri" means "I'm skeptical of the matter and not easily convinced?") but I have lived here for most of my life and couldn't imagine leaving. After graduating from Colorado State University, I did what everyone wants to do; I moved to the mountains and skied, hiked, and hid from responsibility! Our listeners in the mountains may know me from my time in Steamboat Springs and Vail or as the voice of the Battle Mountain Huskies Hockey team in Vail.
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