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Traumatic brain injury awareness, prevention

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Antoine Alphabet, 6th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Warrior Medicine Clinic flight chief

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

According to the Defense Health Agency Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, “a TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain, and depending on severity, can have long lasting effects on anyone who experiences one.”

More than 430,000 service members have been diagnosed with a first-time TBI since 2000. The most common form of TBI in the military is mild, and is also known as a concussion.

How do service members get a TBI?

The most common source for a TBI injury is from physical activities such as contact sports.

Brain injuries may also be derived from car accidents, falls and battlefield exposures (i.e. being in a vehicle that was damaged by a blast, sustaining a direct blow to the head and hit by an explosive device within 50 meters).

What are the symptoms of a TBI?

According to Centers for Disease Control guidelines, symptoms of a TBI can be mild or severe.

Most mild symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Severe symptoms may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory loss
  • Poor concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Balance problems
  • Loss of hearing, taste, balance or sight

Why is it important for active duty members to seek care?

One of our objectives at the Warrior Medicine Clinic is to prioritize the evaluation and treatment of active component service members to ensure a fit and ready force.

However, untreated TBI injuries can contribute to long-term physical and mental health well-being. For a service member, this can affect their ability to perform their duties and accomplishing their mission.

Therefore, if you have been involved in a recent TBI incident, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Enrolled MacDill AFB members may contact (813) 827-2273 to book an appointment with your primary care manager team.