Army Study Finds Troops Suffer Concussions in Training
Since 9/11, Army and Marine Corps leaders have instituted mandatory hand-to-hand combat programs based on violent MMA fighting techniques; thousands of troops may be at risk for TBI/CTE, increased suicide ideation
by Joaquin Sapien and Daniel Zwerdling
ProPublica and NPR, Aug. 24, 2012
A new military study has found that almost 6 percent of soldiers who took hand-to-hand combat courses at a Texas Army base were struck in the head and suffered symptoms the Pentagon says are consistent with concussions, also called mild traumatic brain injuries.
Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of soldiers have taken such classes — called “combatives” — at bases nationwide before deploying overseas.
Researchers stress that the study is relatively small, drawing from classes at Ft. Hood with just under 2,000 soldiers. And they haven’t finished the study yet.
But the preliminary results have sparked concern among brain specialists inside and outside the military, suggesting that some soldiers went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan having suffered mild traumatic brain injuries in training — and might have been more vulnerable to long-term consequences from additional concussions later.
While we already know that boxing and other combat sports are linked to brain damage, little is known about how this process develops and who may be on the path to developing CTE — Dr. Charles Bernick, a CTE researcher at the Cleveland Clinic in an American Academy of Neurology written statement
“The more hits your brain takes, the less likely it will be that you will have a full recovery,” said Dr. Alex Dromerick, director of neuroscience research at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Retired Lt. Col. Michael Russell, who is leading the Army study, said he wouldn’t comment on it until the final version is released.
Col. Carl Castro, the director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program, which funded the study, said the final results might dictate changes to improve safety. Castro said there is no acceptable number of concussions for a training program, if there’s any way to avoid them.
“Even 1 percent of soldiers would concern me,” he said. “I’d say we need to do something. We don’t want soldiers getting injured while training, if we can prevent it.”
Read the rest of this story:
Watch video clips of Marine Corps Martial Arts Program:
Marines conducting MCMAP training in Iraq:
Army vs. Marine Corps sparring session:
Marine executes hand-knife move, renders buddy unconscious:
History Channel experiences Marine Corps’ “House of Pain”:
Watch more video clips of military MMA-based fighting:
Filed under: Resources Tagged: | Army, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy CTE, Combat, Fort Hood Texas, Marine Corps, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program MCMAP, Mixed Martial Arts MMA, Modern Army Combatives Program MACP, Suicide prevention, Traumatic brain injury TBI