On Oct. 22, 2012, five soldiers stood in the rain at the front of their battalion. To the casual observer, they appeared to be in good health. But they were there to receive Purple Hearts. During their time in Afghanistan, these soldiers sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from battlefield blasts; their job had been to clear routes of buried and hidden bombs.
Recognition for Invisible Injuries
Before April 2011, soldiers with TBIs were not eligible to receive the honor of a Purple Heart, which is awarded to all military personnel injured or killed in the line of duty. The road to recognition has been long, and many soldiers with TBI have suffered in obscurity, their injuries marginalized.
The military, however, has finally recognized these invisible injuries are worthy of recognition. Soldiers who sustained TBIs since Sept. 11th, 2001 are now being retroactively awarded Purple Hearts.
The significance of this recognition lies not only in the honor of the Purple Heart, but also in the implications for the care of soldiers who come home suffering from TBI. These awards honor the valor of the individual soldier and also provide hope for the entire TBI community that these injuries will be taken seriously. With the recognition of TBI as a battlefield injury and not just a psychological problem comes hope for proper medical care.
Living with Traumatic Brain Injury
TBI patients, military and civilian alike, may experience a range of symptoms from chronic and severe migraines to memory loss to personality changes and mood swings to coordination difficulties and even depression and suicidal thoughts. The fallout from traumatic brain injury can include inability to work, financial strain and damage to relationships. Treatment can be difficult and requires a unique approach for each individual. TBI can alter the course of your life, but the better medical care available, the better a chance you have at returning to a fulfilling life.
If you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury, please contact us immediately for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. You may be eligible for compensation to help you alleviate the costs of TBI.