Understanding The Wounds Of Our Wars

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Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division walk past a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle as they prepare to measure the dimensions of a bridge in Hohenfels, Germany, during Exercise Combined Resolve III, Oct. 27, 2014.

Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division walk past a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle as they prepare to measure the dimensions of a bridge in Hohenfels, Germany, during Exercise Combined Resolve III, Oct. 27, 2014.

“Imagine an injury with no outward symptoms that could take years to manifest. Now imagine you don’t even know specifically how that injury occurs,” writes Army Magazine’s John Crawford, about the complexities of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. “When a bullet or a hunk of shrapnel enters the body, clinicians and scientists can track the path it took by studying the flesh. They can calculate the ballistics and the angle of entry, but what about pressure waves, which are essentially invisible?”

The signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, traumatic brain injury occurs when a trauma disrupts the brain and produces physical, emotional, and cognitive deficits. Often times, those diagnosed with TBI also suffer from PTSD, leading to a complex combination of symptoms.