Firsthand Evidence Shows Contact Isn’t Necessary for Traumatic Brain Injury to Occur
Recently, Iran retaliated against the U.S. after a strike on one of their generals by carrying out missile strikes against military forces stationed in Iraq. The U.S. government initially reported no military members were injured. A few days later, they revised their story and admitted that around a dozen people stationed at the targeted bases suffered from concussions. Those injuries were severe enough that soldiers were flown out of Iraq for further evaluation.
There is no indication these unfortunate patients suffered direct blows to the head during the missile attack. Rather, they suffered concussions from the force of the blast itself.
A History of Indirect Concussions
This is not the first time this type of harm has been seen. During military operations in the second Iraq war, soldiers standing near the site of explosions suffered concussions, even though they were never directly struck in the head. Again, the shock wave from a blast caused harm to their central nervous system.
In 2016, U.S. diplomatic personnel in Cuba suffered concussion-like symptoms after being exposed to microwaves and/or other forms of high-energy sonic exposure. Those injuries did not result from physical strikes or even nearby explosions. However, the symptoms were severe enough to prompt a major medical inquiry and cause a rift in US/Cuba relations.
Given these events, the relationship between brain injury and indirect trauma is now well established. However, insurance companies and other defendants don’t seem to have gotten the message. To this day, they argue brain injury can’t occur unless an accident victim actually hits their head on something during an accident. In their view, no brain injury can occur if not accompanied by a skull fracture or at least visible bruising.
Let’s Accept that Direct Force Isn’t the Only Cause for Concussions
Obviously, it’s time to put this old canard to rest. Even the military—which is not known for generosity in accepting the validity of injuries and treating them—now accepts the relationship between indirect forces and brain trauma. Following the Iranian missile attack, the injured service members were taken for additional screening and treatment in Kuwait and Germany. Whether all have been cleared to return to active duty is still unknown.
This is not to say the severity of a blow to the head isn’t important to the degree or type of brain injury. Of course, being hit in the head with an iron pipe will often produce a more severe injury than a jolt to the head in a rear-end car crash. The problem is that defendants in court still argue that no brain injury is even possible without a direct blow to the head.
It’s deeply unfortunate that neurologists and other medical experts are willing to advance this bogus argument when the evidence to the contrary is all around us. This not only does a disservice to victims of accidents; it also suggests that military men and women in combat zones are making false injury claims.
No one defending personal injury claims should stoop this low. The Pentagon now accepts these injuries as valid, and the insurance industry should too.
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