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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 
were hurt. 

   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 
Kuwait. 

   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. 


(KR)

 
 
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