Marines Tracking Concussions/TBI

Effective January 1, the United State Marine Corps will begin tracking all marines and sailors who have sustained head injuries;

The Marine Corps wants to make sure Marines and sailors who suffer concussions and other head injuries are tagged and tracked in a medical database, which officials hope will lead to better health care and treatment.

Starting Jan. 1, every unit will be required to record its Marines and sailors who suffer, or previously had suffered, a traumatic brain injury at any time.

This is a great bit of news for the men and women in uniform, as head injuries compromise the majority of all injuries in the Afgan and Iraq theaters. Here is how Gidget Fuentes wrote how it will work;


Under new rules, here’s a sample scenario of how TBI reporting might work:

A Marine goes on a convoy and an improvised explosive device hits his vehicle. Returning to his unit, he checks in with medical for an examination and is found to have suffered a concussion. The unit’s medical personnel record that diagnosis and the IED event into the Medical Readiness Reporting System and treat the Marine until he is healthy and returns to full duty. After returning home and transferring to a new unit, the Marine is riding a motorcycle when he gets into an accident and suffers a head injury. His unit’s medical personnel record that injury in the database, too. The unit commander and medical personnel will see he has been exposed to multiple events and that he’s at increased risk for TBI. They can then provide more informed medical care.

To safeguard privacy, only the unit commander and the medical personnel will have access to the medical information for their unit’s personnel. Once a Marine or sailor transfers to a new unit, the old unit will no longer have access to the information.

As we all know the lasting effects of a misdiagnosed or mismanaged brain injury can be life-long and devastating.  We must hand it to the Marines for going above and beyond what is currently expected to protect their own.  But then again they are Marines, it’s what they do!

3 thoughts on “Marines Tracking Concussions/TBI

  1. Joe Bloggs December 22, 2011 / 19:14

    Great for the next conflict(s). Most of the exposures and injuries occured between 2001-2011 and there are no reliable records.

    Better late than never but of little use to the wounded.

  2. brokenbrilliant December 23, 2011 / 05:22

    I wonder if there could be a retroactive collection of information about those who have served before. If there are medical records, it could be done. Of course, there’s a good chance that some TBIs have gone undiagnosed or unrecorded, but if someone is hospitalized and/or has very clear post-concussion symptoms after the fact, it could be considered useful on some level.

    • joe bloggs December 23, 2011 / 06:40

      The Marines are deploying a system that does take retrospective data but so many of those exposed to blasts have separated that it is impractical because it is designed to be centrally administrated. The system is not even easily available to the VA and certainly not available to civilian doctors.

      Second, most medical records in theater were on paper and destroyed on site.

      Third, the DoD classified blast injuries as nothing more than sports concussion for a decade. Now we all know sports concussion are serious in their own right but blast concussion is distinct and more severe,

      Finally, one will need an objective NP measure to track progression of the insult. Unfortunately, the DoD used a flawed home grown product, ANAM, which like ImPact has no long-term term clinical value.

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