Diagnosing a concussion or mild TBI (traumatic brain injury) can be difficult, even to experienced physicians, especially on the battlefield, researchers have been told. Yet, that does not diminish the importance of diagnosing such an injury as soon as possible so the appropriate medical care can be given as soon as possible. If it isn’t, the warfighter may be return to duty at impaired status and the condition could even worsen over time.
In the war theater, the primary caregivers are often medics, who are not as extensively trained as physicians. They may not be able to recognize such subtle injuries as the ones caused by mild TBI. Often there are no cuts or bruises with these injuries. In fact, the patient may not even know he or she has sustained an brain injury. Others may hide evidence of an injury to remain with their unit.
It is important that medics and other medical providers need to watch out for bTBI (explosive blast traumatic injury) after any soldier has been in close proximity to an explosion, studies have discovered. The patient may even need to be referred to another strata of care, like a neurologist, neurosurgeon, or emergency medical physician. Studies in New York City and Queens hospitals have confirmed these findings.
Sometimes a soldier does not even know an injury has been sustained. Sometimes, doctors have learned, a soldier may be exposed to more than one blast before the injury becomes apparent. Symptoms might include, headaches, short-term memory loss, and difficulty concentrating on multi-tasking.