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Brain Wars

How the Military Is Failing Its Wounded - an ongoing investigation into soldiers' traumatic brain injuries

Three stories from FRONTLINE's The Wounded Platoon September 2010

Several years after their tours in Iraq, these soldiers still live with debilitating symptoms from their brain injuries.more »

FAQs – Traumatic Brain Injury Drawn from joint research and reporting by NPR, ProPublica and FRONTLINE. What is TBI? How many U.S. soldiers have it? How is it diagnosed and treated? more »
Credits for "Brain Wars: The Purple Heart"

recent stories from npr & propublica

Nov. 29, 2011 ProPublica: Testing Program Fails Soldiers, Leaving Brain Injuries Undetected

In 2007, with roadside bombs exploding across Iraq, Congress moved to improve care for soldiers who had suffered one of the war's signature wounds, traumatic brain injury. Lawmakers passed a measure requiring the military to test soldiers' brain function before they deployed and again when they returned. The test was supposed to ensure that soldiers received proper treatment. Instead, an investigation by ProPublica and NPR has found, the testing program has failed to deliver on its promise, offering soldiers the appearance of help, but not the reality.

more »
May 10, 2011 ProPublica: New Survey: Few Troops Exposed to Bomb Blasts Are Screened For Concussion

More than half of U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan have been exposed to bomb blasts in the last year, but only about 1 in 5 of them said they were examined for concussions, according to a draft of a recent military survey.

more »
April 12, 2011 ProPublica: Critical Shortage of Army Neurologists for U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Army is facing a "critical" shortage of neurologists, partly because of recent policy changes designed to improve diagnosis and treatment of mild traumatic brain injuries, according to a new military medical memorandum.

more »
March 22, 2011 ProPublica: Aftershock: The Blast That Shook Psycho Platoon

At 8:20 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2010, Iraq veteran Brock Savelkoul decided it was time to die. He lurched from his black Tacoma pickup truck, gripping a 9-mm pistol. In front of him, a half dozen law enforcement officers crouched behind patrol cars with their weapons drawn. They had surrounded him on a muddy red road after an hour-long chase that reached speeds of 105 miles per hour. Savelkoul stared at the ring of men and women before ducking into the cab of his truck. He cranked up the radio.

more »
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The Wounded Platoon
Originally aired May 18, 2010

A powerful portrait of what multiple tours and combat injuries -- visible and invisible -- are doing to a generation of young American soldiers.

Wounded Platoon

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posted september 8, 2010

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