February 18, 2020

CONCUSSION CONFUSION: StrategyPage’s editor, James F. Dunnigan, looks at the January 8, 2020 Iranian ballistic missile strike on three American bases in Iraq and the subsequent concussion injury controversy.

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By 2011 the U.S. military felt they had new concussion damage detection tools that military doctors could state how badly a concussion victim was hurt. This was still not an exact science but it was much more precise than in the past. With this new information, the military established guidelines for which concussion victims were eligible for a Purple Heart and which were not. In reality, most combat troops had long since adopted their own criteria and many would refuse Purple Hearts for light wounds or combat injuries. That said, even combat veterans recognized that some concussion injuries could be as debilitating as losing a limb, eyesight or the disfigurement of severe burns.

The post includes a long discussion of PTSD (and its prior names, like shock and combat fatigue), what the U.S. Army and Marines have learned about PTSD since 2001, and what the military and medical community are doing about it.

UPDATE: Date corrected. Thanks.

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