- Over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the January 8 Iranian missile attack on US forces in Iraq, Reuters first reported Monday, citing US officials.
- President Donald Trump said immediately after the attack that “no Americans were harmed,” but more and more service members are being diagnosed with TBI, symptoms of which can take time to appear.
- Hours after the initial report, the Pentagon confirmed that 109 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries.
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The number of US service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries in the wake of an Iranian missile attack on US forces in Iraq has risen to more than 100, Reuters reported Monday, citing US officials.
Hours after the initial report, the Department of Defence confirmed in an emailed statement that 109 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries.
Of those diagnosed, 76 have returned to duty. A total of 27 service members have been transported to the US.
Following a US drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, on January 3, Iran retaliated on January 8 with a ballistic missile strike on US forces stationed in Iraq.
President Donald Trump initially said that “no Americans were harmed,” but as time has passed, the number of injured service members has steadily climbed.
US Central Command first reported on January 16 that 11 service members had been treated for suspected TBI. On January 24, the Pentagon revealed that the number of affected troops had increased to 34.
Now, according to Reuters, the number is more than 100. A US official confirmed the Reuters report to ABC News.
The Pentagon uses the term “TBI” interchangeably with “concussion,” which is classified as a mild traumatic brain injury.
“There’s nothing mild about a brain injury,” Michael Kaplen, a brain injury lawyer and a lecturer at The George Washington University Law School, told Insider recently. “The term ‘mild’ is really a misnomer when it comes to traumatic brain injury”
“It has become misused to characterise what a brain injury is in terms of its consequences,” he explained. “It trivialises a very serious and significant injury.”
The president has on more than one occasion downplayed the reported injuries.
“I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say and I can report that it’s not very serious,” Trump said on January 22, adding, “I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen.”
Any brain injury can have certain troubling physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural repercussions, some of which may last a lifetime.
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