Soldiers With Concussions Denied Purple Hearts

Army seems to ignore its own rules
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2010 7:36 PM CDT
A file photo of a Purple Heart.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(Newser) – Army rules couldn't be clearer: The list of wounds that justify the Purple Heart includes "concussion injuries caused as a result of enemy generated explosions." The real world is a little murkier. An investigation by Pro Publica and NPR finds that the Army routinely denies the award to soldiers with concussions. It finds a common perception that they're a little too squishy to diagnose and treat, and simply don't rise to the level of the award.

But in modern conflicts filled with IEDs, the injuries—this is brain trauma, after all—are tough to ignore. "I don't see how somebody else can tell me that I don't deserve one," says one soldier twice denied. (The Army's own records detail his cognitive troubles after two roadside explosions.) "I may not have wounds on the outside. But I have wounds on the inside."

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