Invisible Concussions – Soldiers fight for us daily, but we forget about them

New York City, New York ( – News Report) – War movies, old and new, expose the danger that comes with fighting a war. Massive explosions complete with pieces of shrapnel leave burns, internal injuries and missing limbs, and when they get home, the wounds seem to appear in other areas – headaches, dizzy spells, persistent ringing in the ears and numbness parts of the body – just to mention a few.

Former Staff Sergeant Kevin Owsley, a 47-year-old Indiana reservist who served as a gunner for a year outside Baghdad beginning in March 2004. Now back home, Mr. Owsley and many other war veterans are dealing with the aftermath of the blasts, but are oftentimes overlooked by medical professionals. Since there is no visible wound, it is ‘easy to dismiss, simple to misdiagnose and difficult to detect.’ Even their CT scans do not report any damage, but the consequences are outstanding, for their injuries lead to financial problems, unemployment, divorce and mental health problems. Never mind the forgetfulness, need for a hearing aide and the nightmares.

As hush-hush as these cases are, there have been as many as 300,000, combat veterans who regularly worked outside the wire, away from bases, and have suffered at least one concussion, according to Pentagon estimates. What is even more tragic, is that Mr. Owsley requested a Purple Heart to give to soldiers wounded or killed in action, but was denied. At the least he was rated 100 percent disabled by the Veterans Affairs Department and now receives a monthly check for $2,711, which helps a little. Because of cases like Mr. Owsley’s case, the Veterans Affairs Department has dedicated $300 million on research for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, the department started screening all Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who come in for clinical help and this has shed more light on the vets. Screenings began in April 2007 and since then there have been 33,000 of 227,015 veterans that screened positive for mild brain injury. How can we wave our little American flags and celebrate holidays such as Independence Day and Veterans Day, yet not push our lawmakers and state officials to take the steps on order to provide these men and women adequate care when they return to our soil? It is shocking that they are left to suffer alone without any help and there must be reform. These individuals are fighting for our country, and just because we are blind to their wounds, do not mean they do not exist.  

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