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Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), 1.7 million people are diagnosed with a brain injury each year.

What is Traumatic Brain Injury—or TBI?

TBI occurs as the result from a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Categories for TBI are:

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Penetrating

The most common form of TBI in the military is mild, and is also known as a concussion.

According to Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, from 2000-2019 (Q1-Q3), more than 413,858 service members have been diagnosed with TBI.

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Promoting better understanding, treatment of traumatic brain injury

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12/26/2018
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Anthony Mannino performs Art Therapy as part of his Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) treatment and recovery. Art Therapy Interns, Adrienne Stamper (left) and Nancy Parfitt instruct and work with Mannino as he receives his art therapy. The therapy is conducted at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center located in Bethesda, Maryland. (Department of Defense photo by Marvin Lynchard)

Blood test to identify TBI among 2018 achievements

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Labyrinth: This path is made for mindful walking

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9/27/2018
Wounded warriors at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence are introduced to the indoor labyrinth during early days of their four-week intensive outpatient treatment program. (Photo courtesy of NICoE)

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Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center Celebrates 25 Years

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3/12/2018
Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center Celebrates 25 Years

Katherine Helmick, DVBIC acting national director, discusses DVBIC achievements and goals to advance service members' health care. DVBIC honors 25 years of military health care by continued dedication to research and treatment of traumatic brain injury.

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Diagnoses of Traumatic Brain Injury Not Clearly Associated with Deployment, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001 – 2016

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4/4/2017
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is structural alteration of the brain or physiological disruption of brain function caused by an external force.  TBI, particularly mild TBI or concussion, is the most common traumatic injury in the U.S. military. This analysis provides the estimated rates of incident TBIs among service members before their first-ever deployment as well as separately among service members during deployments/ after deployments. It also mentions factors that may explain why the TBI incidence rates among the previously deployed were higher than those of the never-deployed group. Moreover, it describes the demographic and military traits of service members diagnosed as TBI cases (before/after deployment). Categorization of person time during surveillance period included four categories: Group 1 (Never deployed/TBI before first-ever deployment), Group 2 (Currently deployed or within 30 days of return), Group 3 (previously deployed but not currently deployed nor within 30 days of return) and Censored after Diagnosis of TBI. From 2001-2016, 276,858 active component service members received first-time diagnoses of TBI. The crude overall incidence rate of TBI among deployed service members was 1.5 times that of service members assigned to Group 1 and 1.2 times that of service members in Group 3 during the surveillance period.  Total TBI cases by group were Group 1 42.8%, Group 2 13.2% and Group 3 44.0%. Incidence rates by group (per 100,000 person-years) were Group 1 1,141.3, Group 2 1,690.5, and Group 3 1,451.2. Learn more at www.Health.mil/MSMR and see fact sheets at www.Health.mil/AFHSB

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is structural alteration of the brain or physiological disruption of brain function caused by an external force. TBI, particularly mild TBI or concussion, is the most common traumatic injury in the U.S. military. This analysis provides the estimated rates of incident TBIs among service members before their first-ever deployment as well as separately among service members during deployments/ after deployments. It also mentions factors that may explain why the TBI incidence rates among the previously deployed were higher than those of the never-deployed group. Moreover, it describes the demographic and military traits of service members diagnosed as TBI cases (before/after deployment).

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Exiting an A-10C Thunderbolt

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9/30/2016
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Judith Bulkley, an electrical and environmental systems specialist deployed from the 23rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., exits an A-10C Thunderbolt II after performing an external power operations check on the aircraft at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Because service members in particular are often exposed to high noise levels, hearing protection is crucial, especially with a TBI. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Stephen Schester)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Judith Bulkley, an electrical and environmental systems specialist deployed from the 23rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., exits an A-10C Thunderbolt II after performing an external power operations check on the aircraft at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Because service members in particular are often exposed to high noise levels, hearing protection is crucial, especially with a TBI. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Stephen Schester)

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A soldier at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s traumatic brain injury clinic in Alaska takes a cognitive hand-eye coordination test on a driving stimulator.

A soldier at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s traumatic brain injury clinic in Alaska takes a cognitive hand-eye coordination test on a driving stimulator.

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Public Health Service Cmdr. Robin Toblin speaks at TBI Summit

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9/21/2016
Public Health Service Cmdr. Robin Toblin with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research was one of the more than 1,700 health care providers and policy makers from the Military Health System, the Department of Veterans Affairs, academia and commercial research companies who met in person and virtually during the recent Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit held at the Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. (DCoE photo by Terry Welch)

Public Health Service Cmdr. Robin Toblin with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research was one of the more than 1,700 health care providers and policy makers from the Military Health System, the Department of Veterans Affairs, academia and commercial research companies who met in person and virtually during the recent Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit held at the Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. (DCoE photo by Terry Welch)

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Technician Discusses TBI Research

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5/20/2016
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Richard Benjamin, lead physical science technician at the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., discusses using technology to better understand traumatic brain injuries.

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A Head for the Future: Randy Gross

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3/25/2016
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When he was 23, Randy Gross was riding in a car with his seat belt off. The former Army staff sergeant sustained a TBI when the vehicle crashed. He sought help immediately, making a full recovery from his TBI and continuing to serve in the Army until 2006. Now, Gross helps those in the military with TBI as a regional education coordinator for DVBIC.

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Head for the future

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3/14/2016
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In 2005, a car struck Marine reservist Maj. Eve Baker head-on while she was biking to work in Honolulu. She flew face-first into the windshield, shattering her helmet — which likely saved her life.

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DoD Instruction 6490.13: Comprehensive Policy on Traumatic Brain Injury-Related Neurocognitive Assessments by the Military Services

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This instruction establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes standard elements, pursuant to section 722 of Public Law 111-383, requiring the implementation of a comprehensive neurocognitive assessment policy in the Military Services.

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