Pentagon officials announced on March 2, 2010 that troops exposed to blast waves from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan will be removed from combat for 24 hours before they can be cleared to return to the front lines, according to a CNN article. Up to 300,000 troops from both Middle Eastern fronts might be suffering from traumatic brain injuries incurred mainly from ominous roadside blasts, the article noted. Even when there is no sign of physical damage, the brain suffers from the pressure exerted from the blasts.
All troops within 55 yards of a blast or whose vehicles have been hit by an explosion will be subject to evaluation by field medics for a minimum of 24 hours before they are allowed to return to duty. ‘In that daylong period, the individuals would be checked for headaches, memory or concentration loss, ringing ears and blurred vision,’ the article added. Soldiers who show any of these signs of suffering a concussion will be withheld from duty until their condition shows signs of improvement.
The Secretary of Defense will issue the new Pentagon policy, but most of it was composed and inspired by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. Adm. Mullen has been drawing attention to the high numbers of traumatic brain injuries suffered by troops in the past few years. ‘The sooner you are able to treat somebody and get it right, the higher the probability you’ll reduce the long-term impacts. So speed is really important here,’ Mullen told CNN.
According to both CNN and USA Today, the Pentagon will issue the official policy in the next few weeks. Soldiers are already being trained to understand and enact the new policy. The crafters of the policy hope that it will reduce the number of successive concussions, as well as lessening the severity of the damage and long-term symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries.
Mount, Mike. (March 2, 2010) ‘Pentagon will pull troops in bomb attacks from battle for 24 hours.’ Retrieved on March 3, 2010 from the CNN Web site:http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/03/02/pentagon.brain.injury/
Ozarks First Staff. (March 2, 2010) ‘Pentagon To Begin Pulling Soldiers From Combat After Roadside Bomb Blasts.’ Retrieved on March 3, 2010 from the Ozarks First Web site:http://ozarksfirst.com/content/fulltext/?cid=240601
Zoroya, Gregg. (March 2, 2010) ‘Pentagon focuses on brain trauma.’ Retrieved on March 3, 2010 from the USA Today Web site: http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-03-01-traumatic-brain-injury_…