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Commendable New Military Ruling that Lessens Concussion Injury

By Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

USA Today has reported that because of a new military ruling more soldiers are being diagnosed with concussions than ever before.

The ruling, which came into effect last July, says that soldiers near a blast have to be pulled from combat for 24 hours to check for a concussion.  The idea is to protect soldiers from the risk of receiving one concussion on top of another.

Dr. Guy McKhann, Florence Irving Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery here at Columbia says, “Early diagnosis is imperative,” especially in high risk environments such as those faced by soldiers.  McKhann explains, “Following concussion, the brain is more susceptible to another injury. If the concussion is not recognized and the individual sustains another “second hit” soon thereafter, much more severe brain swelling and damage can result.”

According to the USA today article, the military has set up “rest centers” where troops can recover.  “In general,” Dr. McKhann says he recommends, “patients rest until all symptoms have completely resolved, including under high physical strain.  Although, for exactly how long and whether certain types of graduated brain activity may be beneficial is unclear.”

According to McKhann, “It is not known whether some individuals are more genetically susceptible such that recovery is incomplete and brain function impaired following a low number of concussions.”

In any case, McKhann says, “Any policy that allows for a more systematic and accurate assessment of soldiers who may have sustained a blast related concussion is commendable.”

Read the article More troops’ concussions diagnosed under new rules in USA Today

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