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Pascrell and Bacon Respond to Trump’s Remarks on Traumatic Brain Injuries

January 28, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.), co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, expressed concern and disappointment over comments made by President Trump regarding 34 U.S. service members who sustained possible brain injuries during the January 8 attack on the Al-Asad airbase in Iraq.

“Brain injury should never be minimized. Unfortunately, too many people, including elected leaders, are not familiar with the terrible realities of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI),” stated Reps. Pascrell and Bacon. “As the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, TBI symptoms can be life-altering for victims and their families. Congress recently approved more than $165 million for the Defense Centers of Excellence Psychological Health and TBI which focuses on prevention, treatment, and research. Veterans and all those impacted by TBI are important advocates for brain injury treatment at the federal level and deserve our unqualified support and respect.”

Last week, Rep. Pascrell assailed Trump’s dismissal of traumatic brain injuries as unserious and highlighted Trump’s comments as insulting to servicemembers. Pascrell, who founded the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, sent a letter to the Department of Defense Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness and the Assistant Secretary of Defense Health Affairs asking for more information on the extent of U.S. servicemember injuries resulting from Iran’s attack of January 8, 2020 in Iraq and calling on the Pentagon to reiterate its commitment to the seriousness of brain injuries on the battlefield and elsewhere.

For two decades, Rep. Pascrell has been a leader in advancing brain injury policy on Capitol Hill. He co-founded the Congressional Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force in 2001 and has served as task force co-chair since its inception. The Task Force works to increase awareness of brain injury in the United States, supports research initiatives for rehabilitation and potential cures, and strives to address the effects these injuries have on all Americans, including children, members of the Armed Forces, and athletes. Rep. Pascrell also champions funding for programs at the Department of Defense that go towards TBI research and treatment, such as the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence.

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