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Brain Injury and the Military

Traumatic brain injury has been called the signature injury of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with more than 2 million American service members having been deployed since 2001. Injuries are being caused in significant numbers from the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These weapons cause shockwaves of extreme pressure that travel hundreds of yards out from the blast and helmets and body armor do nothing to protect the body and brain from these sudden and drastic changes in pressure. Therefore, soldiers can acquire a brain injury without receiving a scratch. Troops are often exposed to such blasts multiple times, creating a cumulative effect.
  • Among veterans worldwide, the total number of TBIs sustained is over 320,000 (from January 1, 2000 - November 23, 2015).
  • Over 83% of these injuries are classified as mild TBI.
  • Almost 25,000 service members sustained a TBI in 2014.
  • The total number of TBIs sustained worldwide increased each year from 2000 to 2011 (from just over 10,000 in 2001 to over 32,000 in 2011). Since 2012 the total number has decreased each year. 

BIAV has a variety of resources and educational materials regarding brain injury and the military. Please contact us for more information at 804-355-5748 or 1-800-444-6443 or complete our Resource Request Form.

BIAV is a proud partner of the Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS), formerly the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program (VWWP), and serves on the Executive Strategy Committee to ensure that brain injury related issues are thoughtfully considered. For more information on VVFS, visit the program's website by clicking on the link provided below.

Statistics provided by Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS), Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (

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