The number of U.S. troops diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury following Iran's missile attack on Al- Asad Air Base in Iraq now stands at 50, the Defense Department announced on Tuesday.
CNN's Barbara Starr first reported the latest increase in the Pentagon's official tally of service members with concussions as result of the attack had increased from 34 to 50.
Of the 16 additional service members who have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury, 15 have returned to duty in Iraq, said Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell.
It was not immediately known how many of the 50 affected service members have been diagnosed with mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury.
"The department is committed to delivering programs and services intended to lead to the best possible outcomes for our service members who suffer any injury," Campbell said. "As stated previously, this is a snapshot in time and numbers can change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available."
Citing several Pentagon officials, Starr reported the number would likely continue to rise since there were approximately 200 people who were in the blast zone at the time of the attack who have been screened for symptoms.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered a review of how the military tracks all injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injury, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said at a Jan. 24 news briefing.
Esper was not made aware of the troops who had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury until they were medically evacuated to Germany, Hoffman said.
"If you look at the different types of reporting systems that we have, sometimes the administrative reporting of an injury is different than the medical reporting," Hoffman said. "We need to get that clarified."
The Veterans of Foreign Wars has demanded President Donald Trump apologize for initially saying that no U.S. service members were injured following the ballistic missile attack on Al-Asad and subsequently claiming that the service members diagnosed with TBI were not suffering from serious injuries.
You can read the full statement from Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell's below:
The Department of Defense is committed to providing the American people timely and accurate information about the care and treatment of our service members.
The latest update available regarding the treatment and care of service members involved in the attack on al Asad is as follows:
- 16 additional service members have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), 15 of which have returned to duty in Iraq.
- As of today, 50 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with TBI.
- Of these 50, 31 total service members were treated in Iraq and returned to duty, including 15 of the additional service members who have been diagnosed since the previous report.
- 18 service members have been transported to Germany for further evaluation and treatment. This is an increase of one service member from the previous report, who had been transported to Germany for other health reasons and has since been diagnosed with a TBI.
- As previously reported, one service member had been transported to Kuwait and has since returned to duty.
No additional information is available at this time on other whether additional service members have been returned to the U.S.
The department is committed to delivering programs and services intended to lead to the best possible outcomes for our service members who suffer any injury. As stated previously, this is a snap shot in time and numbers can change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.