This paper has two primary objectives. First, it will support the argument that blast related TBI is uniquely different from the more recognized brain injury known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) injury associated with impact trauma and therefore requires a different approach to both diagnosis and treatment. Second, it will provide recommendations for mitigating the effects of bTBI on the readiness and long-term health of special operators.
Key recommendations will include identifying blast pressure thresholds, developing imaging technology, and blood markers to diagnose bTBI. It calls for the DoD to institute and sustain “baseline” health surveillance to detect patterns of injury and health distress early, promote awareness for the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine Brain Donation Awareness Program, and to establish an active Cross-Functional Brain Consortium. An additional recommendation will include changes to training plans that continue to prepare operators for combat but reduce their exposure to blast trauma.