84 UMKC L. Rev. 373 (2015-2016)
Understanding TBI in Our Nation's Military and Veterans: Its Occurrence, Identification and Treatment, and Legal Ramifications

handle is hein.journals/umkc84 and id is 377 raw text is: 



UNDERSTANDING TBI IN OUR NATION'S MILITARY
             AND VETERANS: ITS OCCURRENCE,
   IDENTIFICATION AND TREATMENT, AND LEGAL
                           RAMIFICATIONS

            Stacey-Rae Simcox,  Michelle Mattingly, and Isis Marrero*

        Department   of Defense data reveals that of those who served in the U.S.
Military from   2000  through  2011,  235,046  service  members   (4.2%  of the
5,603,720  who  served in the Army,  Air Force, Navy  and  Marine  Corps)  were
diagnosed  with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).' Because  of the high prevalence
of exposure  to explosive devices, TBI has been labeled a  signature injury of
the wars  in Iraq and  Afghanistan.2  Adding  to the unique  nature of combat-
induced  TBI  is the occurrence  of commingling   posttraumatic stress disorder
symptoms    (PTSD).     Because   servicemembers' exposure      to  events  and
comorbidities  may  differ significantly from civilian experiences  of TBI, for
instance sports injuries, it is important to understand the ramification of this
condition for our  military. A failure of the Department  of Defense  (DoD)  or
Veterans  Affairs (VA) to adequately diagnose or treat this condition can lead to
significant concerns for servicemembers,   including legal ramifications and  a
denial of treatment or benefits for TBI.
        In order  to offer background  to the discussion of TBI in our  military
veterans, Part I of this article will give a brief overview of TBI, in particular mild
TBI.  Part II will discuss the issue of the comorbidity of other conditions with
military members'  TBI, to include PTSD.   Part III will provide information on
how  the DoD  and the VA evaluate and treat this condition in our servicemembers
and  veterans. Part IV will discuss why the recognition of potential symptoms or
mild TBI  in our servicemembers  and veterans is important for many reasons, to
include the ability to receive healthcare and benefits from the VA.




* Dr. Isis V. Marrero, M.D. is a board certified psychiatrist and an Assistant Professor in the
University of South Florida (USF) Morsani College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and
Behavioral Neurosciences, Forensic Division. Dr. Michelle Mattingly, PhD, ABPP, is a board
certified clinical neuropsychologist and an Assistant Professor in USF's Morsani College of
Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Neuropsychology Division.
Stacey-Rae Simcox is an Associate Professor at Stetson University's College of Law. Professor
Simcox is also the Director of Stetson's Veterans Advocacy Clinic. This article is written out of
the unique collaboration between USF's Morsani College of Medicine and Stetson University's
College of Law. Begun in September 2014, this effective medical-legal partnership brings together
medical students and faculty with law students and faculty to work together helping disabled
military veterans. The authors would like to thank our nation's military veterans of every era for
their service and sacrifice.
1 CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION ET AL., REPORT TO CONGRESS ON TRAUMATIC BRAIN
INJURY IN THE UNITED STATES: UNDERSTANDING THE PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEM AMONG CURRENT
AND     FORMER      MILITARY     PERSONNEL     54     (2013),    available    at
http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pubs/congress military.html.
2 See generally Susan Okie, Traumatic Brain Injury in the War Zone, 352 NEw ENG. J. MED. 2043
(2005); see also Military & TBI, BRAIN TRAUMA FOUND., https://www.braintrauma.org/tbi-
faqs/military-tbil (last visited Sept. 30, 2015).

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