The ongoing Global War on Terror has resulted in an increase of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, doctors have noted. A number of them suffer from an explosive blast (bTBI). Physicians have decided this type of injury is distinct from other forms of brain trauma, such as penetrating TBI (pTBI) and closed head TBI (cTBI).
Explosive blast causes more than 60% of combat casualties in the two current major American campaigns, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to studies. The main source of danger are the much talked-about IEDs – improvised explosive devices. The head is often injured in battle, accounting for 20% of all combat-related injuries in modern wars. When it comes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the data is still coming in. So far, the data seems to closely match that of previous wars.
Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom are distinct from 20th century wars in the higher survival rate of those who are injured in combat, even those who suffer from TBI, according to studies. An important factor to be considered is the use of body armor. Doctors in Nassau and Suffolk used to believe that the severity of bTBI was due to pTBI from fragments of the explosive device or cTBI from the head striking an object after the victim was thrown.
The modern combat helmet has prevented many instances of pTBI, but it might have limitations when it comes to injury from impact. bTBI can be as severe as any other injury, without a penetrating injury and without the victim being thrown, which means even the excellent armor of the modern soldier can fully protect from bTBI.