Over 100 US troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following Iran strike

Over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the Iranian missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq, according to a US official with knowledge of the latest information.

Posted: Feb 10, 2020 10:00 PM
Updated: Feb 10, 2020 10:00 PM

Over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq, according to a US official with knowledge of the latest information.

Later on Monday the Pentagon released a statement confirming that 109 service members had been diagnosed, an increase of 45 from the end of January when they said 64 service members had been suffered injuries.

The statement added that nearly 70% of the injured service members have returned to duty.

"We are grateful to the efforts of our medical professionals who have worked diligently to ensure the appropriate level of care for our service members, which has enabled nearly 70 percent of those diagnosed to return to duty. We must continue to address physical and mental health together," Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement.

"Our research has been instrumental in the development of various breakthroughs to improve the lives of those individuals who have sustained brain injuries. Our efforts must address the total picture - before, during and after any blast exposure or injury. This is a snapshot in time and numbers can change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available," Farah added.

The Pentagon and President Donald Trump had initially said no service members were injured or killed in the Iranian missile attack, which was retaliation for the January 2 US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general.

Several Pentagon officials told CNN last month that the number of diagnosed cases is likely to continue to change. Approximately 200 people who were in the blast zone at the time of the attack have been screened for symptoms.

During a news conference at the Pentagon late last month, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said the increasing number of reported cases stems in part from the fact that the injuries, for the most part, fall into the category of "mild TBI" which takes time for symptoms to manifest.

"All of those people were screened and we have got a certain number and the number is growing, in this particular case TBI -- that manifests, it takes some time to manifest itself, it's not an immediate thing necessarily -- some cases it is, some cases it's not. So we continue to screen," Milley said. "Some of them have been evacuated to Europe, some have been evacuated back to the United States so there is a layered approach to this, we'll continue to do that with our medical professionals."

Trump downplayed severity of injuries

Last month, Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq.

During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump was asked to explain the discrepancy between his previous comments that no US service member was harmed and reports of US troops being treated for injuries suffered in the attack.

"No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it's not very serious," Trump replied during a news conference.

Asked about the President's comments, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Trump "understands the nature of these injuries."

"I've had the chance to speak with the President. He is very concerned about the health and welfare of all of our service members, particularly those who were involved in the operations in Iraq, and he understands the nature of these injuries," he said last month.

An influential veterans group demanded Trump apologize for those comments.

"The VFW expects an apology from the President to our service men and women for his misguided remarks," William "Doc" Schmitz, Veterans of Foreign Wars national commander, said in a statement Friday.

"And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has on these heroes as they protect our great nation in these trying times. Our warriors require our full support more than ever in this challenging environment," Schmitz added.

How dangerous are TBIs?

The most common form of TBI in the military is mild TBIs, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a TBI as a "disruption in the normal function of the brain" that's typically caused by a bump, a blow or a jolt to the head. One of the most common forms of TBI is concussion, also known as mild TBI (mTBI).

Away from the military they're typically seen in car accidents, when a person's head hits the windshield. They also frequently occur in sports -- after a football player tackles an opposing player leading with his own helmet, for example.

In 2014 alone, almost 3 million TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths were reported in the US, according to the CDC. More than 830,000 occurred among children. The total number increased 53% from 2006, the CDC said, indicating brain injuries are on the rise.

They can also be caused by severe shaking, which moves the brain inside the skull and causes injury. That can happen when, using the car accident example, the head jolts from impact but doesn't actually collide with a surface.

These types of injuries can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of mild injuries include headaches, dizziness and confusion.

For moderate to severe brain injuries, though, symptoms can include severe headaches, a lack of coordination, slurred speech and seizures.

Very severe cases can even result in death. There were 56,800 TBI-related deaths in the US in 2014, according to the CDC

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 66646

Reported Deaths: 1874
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5544117
DeSoto357430
Harrison240635
Madison239664
Rankin225132
Jackson222542
Jones185058
Forrest175855
Washington160640
Lauderdale139790
Lee138333
Neshoba128492
Lamar119214
Oktibbeha109638
Bolivar109333
Lowndes105837
Warren103332
Panola102612
Scott99520
Sunflower99224
Lafayette95615
Copiah94528
Leflore90762
Pike89635
Holmes87348
Grenada83821
Yazoo81512
Pontotoc8098
Lincoln79641
Leake78625
Simpson78630
Monroe76952
Wayne75321
Coahoma71511
Tate70527
Marshall6749
Marion64320
Winston61116
Adams61025
Covington61013
Union60116
George5494
Newton53711
Pearl River52937
Tallahatchie52210
Attala51525
Walthall49119
Chickasaw45019
Noxubee44811
Calhoun4079
Prentiss40310
Claiborne39813
Alcorn3975
Smith39713
Clay39214
Jasper3819
Hancock37314
Tishomingo3635
Itawamba34810
Tippah34213
Clarke32525
Tunica3226
Montgomery3153
Lawrence3127
Yalobusha31210
Humphreys28311
Carroll26011
Quitman2521
Greene23611
Jefferson Davis2286
Kemper22714
Amite2256
Webster22512
Perry2237
Wilkinson20113
Jefferson1946
Sharkey1944
Stone1864
Benton1420
Choctaw1314
Franklin1192
Issaquena251
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12743242
Mobile9565206
Montgomery6521148
Madison525030
Tuscaloosa410371
Unassigned347461
Baldwin344323
Shelby320133
Marshall309034
Lee262844
Morgan233017
Etowah207530
DeKalb177113
Calhoun170413
Elmore169438
Walker150264
Houston136412
Russell13422
Dallas131123
St. Clair131016
Limestone128413
Franklin125820
Cullman120112
Colbert115613
Lauderdale113917
Autauga106521
Escambia105416
Talladega98613
Jackson9454
Tallapoosa84979
Chambers83538
Dale82323
Blount7743
Chilton7676
Butler75935
Coffee7475
Covington72620
Pike6907
Barbour5695
Lowndes56724
Marion56724
Marengo54614
Clarke4969
Hale46726
Bullock45411
Winston44411
Perry4364
Wilcox41810
Bibb4164
Monroe4154
Randolph39410
Pickens3849
Conecuh38210
Sumter36218
Lawrence3441
Macon33213
Washington32712
Crenshaw3133
Choctaw27912
Cherokee2637
Geneva2550
Henry2523
Greene25011
Clay2495
Lamar2172
Fayette1985
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 84°
Columbus
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 76°
Oxford
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather