Not All Brain Injuries In Veterans Disclosed By Pentagon

Armen Hareyan's picture

More than 20,000 soldiers who have shown signs of brain injuries werenot classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan,according to Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs records compiled by USA Today. According to the USA Todayanalysis, there are about five times more servicemembers who sustainedbrain trauma -- mostly mild or moderate injuries -- than the 4,471officially listed by the Department of Defensethrough Sept. 30. Those 20,000 soldiers also are not included in thedepartment's official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327. The20,000 figure is based on data from VA hospitals and four militarybases, meaning that it is possible that additional injuries still havenot been counted.

According to Army Col. Robert Labutta, aneurologist and brain injury consultant for the Pentagon,servicemembers whose injuries were discovered after leaving combat arenot added to the official casualty list. He said, "We are working to doa better job of reflecting accurate data in the official casualtytable." Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force,said more than 150,000 troops might have received head injuries incombat. He said, "I am wary that the number of brain-injured troops farexceeds the total number reported injured" (Zoroya, USA Today, 11/23).

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