Veterans

  • Background

Since September 11, 2001, almost three million Americans enlisted to serve our country; by 2016, it is estimated over two million will have left the military and returned to civilian life. Many returning military members and veterans battle physical or psychological injuries because of prolonged periods of combat-related stress or traumatic events.

A traumatic brain injury is a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury. The primary causes of TBI in veterans of OIF/OEF are blast injuries from exposure to improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar/artillery shells, motor vehicle accidents and gunshot wounds. A traumatic brain injury is a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury. The primary causes of TBI in veterans of OIF/OEF are blast injuries from exposure to improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar/artillery shells, motor vehicle accidents and gunshot wounds.

An estimated twenty percent of military members and veterans return with brain injury and nineteen percent return with post-traumatic stress disorder. TBI has become the signature wound for soldiers in the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. According to a report released in the spring of 2008, from the Rand Center for Military Health Policy and Research, approximately 320,000 or 19.5 percent of the U.S. service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq report experiencing a brain injury during deployment. 

Eighty nine percent of Nebraska forces are male. As of 2014, the VA reports that in Nebraska/Western Iowa, 8,374 servicemembers were screened for TBI, of those, 20 percent or more than 1,675 have TBIs and 2,009 have PTSD (some are dual-diagnosed). However, not all brain injuries are screened or diagnosed by the VA and in some cases, the veteran was only given very little information about his/her condition. Out of more than 13,583 veterans in the Nebraska-Western Iowa, 9,054 are using the VA, which means almost 5,000 are not working with or being helped by the VA. 

As more service members return home, these numbers will increase. The brain injury, PTSD and the reintegration needs of military members and veterans is the primary mission of the Nebraska Veterans Task Force

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