Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) | KUNC

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

High school football
Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

Kelli Jantz lost her son, Jake Snakenberg, during a high school football game. She will never forget his last moments on the field.

"He lined up," Jantz said. "He set. And then he fell forward and was trying to get up and you could tell something wasn't quite right. He turned to come to the sideline and he went down and that was it."

He never got up again.

Fears of brain injuries has deterred many parents and their children from choosing to play football.

After years of publicity about how dangerous football can be, football enrollment has declined 6.6 percent in the past decade, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Those who still play the sport are increasingly low-income students.

A group of 12 U.S. senators, led by Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., is calling for the Army inspector general to investigate the discharges of tens of thousands of service members diagnosed with mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries.

Staff Sgt. Eric James, an Army sniper who served two tours in Iraq, paused before he walked into a psychiatrist's office at Fort Carson, Colo. It was April 3, 2014. James clicked record on his smartphone, and then tucked the phone and his car keys inside his cap as he walked through the door to the chair by the therapist's desk.

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Staff Sgt. Jon Meadows' first deployment to Iraq, one of his friends, Staff Sgt. William Beardsley, said he wanted to go on a mission in Jon's place.

Jon agreed — and Beardsley died on that mission.

Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.

None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."

Colorado Springs Gazette

Last spring, the Colorado Springs Gazette investigated the connection between war wounds, military misconduct and other-than-honorable or bad conduct discharges. Now Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet wants to officially study the topic.

Twenty percent of strokes hit people under age 65, and the cause of many of those strokes remains a mystery. Having had a concussion or other traumatic brain injury might make the risk of a stroke more likely, a study says.

Back in 2011, researchers in Taiwan had unearthed an association between traumatic brain injury and stroke by combing through hospital records.

It's one of those "Oh, really?" findings that gets scientists itching to check it out themselves.

Gazette Excerpt: Injured In Iraq, Jailed At Home

May 21, 2013
Michael Ciaglo / The Gazette

When wounded combat veterans lash out, the Army struggles to respond justly.

Gazette Excerpt: No Break For The Wounded

May 20, 2013
Michael Ciaglo / The Gazette

Modern medicine saved Sgt. Jerrald Jensen when he was injured in combat. Decades-old disciplinary rules awaited when he returned home.