Pentagon: 50 Troops Have TBI 01/29 06:25
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon on Tuesday raised to 50 the number of U.S.
service members who suffered traumatic brain injuries in Iran's missile strike
earlier this month on an Iraqi air base, the third time the number of injuries
has been increased.
The new casualty total belies President Donald Trump's initial claim that no
Americans were harmed. Days after the attack, the military said 11 service
members were injured. Last week, the Pentagon said that 34 U.S. service members
Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday that 16
additional service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Of the
50, Campbell said, 31 service members had returned to duty.
The service members were treated in Iraq, or at military health centers,
including Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the largest U.S. military hospital
outside the continental United States, and a U.S. military medical facility in
Trump had initially said he was told that no troops had been injured in the
Jan. 8 missile strike on Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base, which Iran carried out as
retaliation for a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran's most powerful
general, Qassem Soleimani, on Jan. 3. The military said symptoms of concussion
or traumatic brain injury were not immediately reported after the strike and in
some cases became known days later. Many were in bunkers before nearly a dozen
Iranian ballistic missiles exploded.
After the Pentagon reported on Jan. 17 that 11 service members had been
evacuated from Iraq with concussion-like symptoms, Trump said, "I heard they
had headaches and a couple of other things ... and I can report it is not very
serious." He said he did not consider the injuries to be as severe as those
suffered by troops who were hit by roadside bombs in Iraq.
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, became a bigger concern for the military in
recent years as medical science improved its understanding of its causes and
effects on brain function. It can involve varying degrees of impairment of
thinking, memory, vision, hearing and other functions. The severity and
duration of the injury can vary widely.
The Defense Department has said more than 375,000 incidents of TBI occurred
in the military between the years 2000 and 2018. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention says a severe TBI may lead to death or result in an
extended period of coma or amnesia.