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Four Brain Injury Amendments Added to Defense Package

June 24, 2024

Four Brain Injury Amendments Added to Defense Package

Amendments would lead the Department of Defense to standardize TBI identification, treatment, and referral guidelines

WASHINGTON, DC – Four amendments addressing traumatic brain injury (TBI) in American service members will be included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. These additions to the annual defense bill will lead the Department of Defense to enhance injury identification, as well as find better and more modern treatments for American service members affected by brain injuries.

“Too often traumatic brain injury goes undiagnosed and ignored. Brain injury for many can develop into a chronic lifelong health condition that requires ongoing care and management, and it is paramount that service members receive accurate and timely assessment and diagnosis after an impact or injury in order to have the best possible outcomes,” said Rick Willis, president and CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA). “BIAA supports these amendments, and recognizes the need for additional support for service members with brain injury.”

The four amendments were introduced by Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the co-chairman and co-founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. The various amendments are cosponsored by Congressmembers Joe Wilson (R-SC-02), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-07), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Don Bacon (D-NE-02), and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06).

“TBI is a terrible burden for millions of Americans and their families, and especially so for members of the armed forces,” Rep. Pascrell said in a recent statement. “It has been over two decades since TBI was identified as the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Defense Department owes our service members the best quality of care to continue improving on how it handles brain injuries. I will work to see that these provisions are enacted into full law.”

According to Rep. Pascrell’s office, the amendments being considered would:

  • Require the Department of Defense to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of eliminating outpatient rehabilitation therapy maximums for active-duty service members who suffered a traumatic brain injury.
  • Require the Department of Defense to conduct a study to analyze the feasibility of recognizing non-governmental accreditation bodies for brain injury treatment programs for active-duty service members that sustained a brain injury.
  • Require the Department of Defense to develop a Traumatic Brain Injury Oversight Strategy and Action Plan to standardize identification, treatment, tracking, monitoring, and referral guidelines for TBI programs across all military branches. The Plan must include a standardized system of monitoring and care to include a 72-hour post injury exam and protocols, data collection and reporting guidelines.
  • Require the Department of Defense to conduct a study on the enhancement of diagnostic screening tools for TBI. The study should identify definitive point-of-injury solutions for TBI testing. The study should address DOD’s ability to rapidly and accurately assess brain injury and its severity with point-of-injury technology, greatly enhancing the health, survival, and long-term medical issues of service members and veterans. The study should address the impact of how accurate TBI diagnostic tools would improve military readiness and address the concern for a growing medical burden.