In early January, Iran launched missile strikes at U.S. facilities in Iraq, less than a week after the U.S. killed one of Iran’s top generals.  In the aftermath of the attacks, U.S. Central Command issued a statement stating several soldiers “were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast” and that per standard procedure, “all personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The immediate assessment and treatment of troops after the missile attacks illustrates how far the U.S. military has come in terms of TBI. Ten years ago, an NPR and Pro Publica revealed military concussions were underdiagnosed, leading many service members to grapple with the long-term effects on their own, often with disastrous consequences for their quality of life, careers, and family.

Today, concussion assessment and treatment are standard. Treating TBI is now an integrated part of the military health care system, which allows for broader awareness to help our veterans get the unique level of treatment they need.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) works with veterans,  military families, and advocates to ensure the injured person receives the care they need.  They also offer support to family members and caregivers.

“Through my involvement, the BIAAZ has helped me learn more about TBI, allowed me to help other survivors directly, and inspired me to continue my path of recovery.  My life is fuller and more meaningful because of the work the BIAAZ does,” says Patrick Ziegert, who is a veteran of both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army.

According to BIAAZ Executive Director Carrie Collins, their goal is to bolster support of veterans from all eras of service.

“There can be times where the service member does not want help or feels they cannot reach out for help because it could jeopardize their career, and we are here to assist (them and) their families with resources, education, and support.  Many of the families tell us that it’s just life-changing to have a free resource that you can reach out to and talk to someone about a suspected brain injury.”

To learn more about the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona, go online to https://www.biaaz.org/.


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