The Army is expected to issue a new policy in order to protect soldiers against undetected brain trauma and concussions they may suffer in combat, according to USA Today.
Under the prospective rule, the Pentagon will mandate that troops who are in the area of a bomb blast will be pulled out of duty for 24 hours and examined for mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), even if they show no signs of trauma or insist they are unhurt.
During that 24-hour period, soldiers would be checked for double vision, headaches, ringing ears as well as having their short-term memory and concentration tested.
The proposed policy change stems from the fear that troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from MTBI following combat, but that this damage is not being detected.
The policy change, according to an official with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, is a major breakthrough in battlefield medicine “because it treats troops based on what happened to them, not just visible wounds,” USA Today reports.
In 2008 300,000 soldiers may have suffered brain injury, most following a bomb blast, one study estimated. Some 100,000 soldiers have been found to have MTBI since 2003.
It’s heartening to see that the military is taking real steps to protect our soldiers from every type of injury possible, even those affecting the brain.