Monday, August 25, 2008

War Veterans’ Concussions Are Often Overlooked

Published: August 26, 2008

Excerpt:

"...But more than three years after coming home, Mr. Owsley’s days have been irrevocably changed by the explosions. He struggles to unscramble his memory and thoughts. He often gets lost on the road, even with directions. He writes all his appointments down but still forgets a few. He wears a hearing aid, cannot bear sunlight on his eyes, still succumbs to nightmares and considers four hours of sleep a night a gift.

Mr. Owsley is part of a growing tide of combat veterans who come home from war with mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions, caused by powerful explosions. As many as 300,000, or 20 percent, of combat veterans who regularly worked outside the wire, away from bases, in Iraq or Afghanistan have suffered at least one concussion, according to the latest Pentagon estimates. About half the soldiers get better within hours, days or several months and require little if any medical assistance. But tens of thousands of others have longer-term problems that can include, to varying degrees, persistent memory loss, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, hearing problems and light sensitivity. These symptoms, which may be subtle and may not surface for weeks or months after their return, are often debilitating enough to hobble the lives and livelihoods of returning soldiers...."

Complete article, here.

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