More than 20,000 service members not classified as wounded in combat have signs of brain injury, according to an examination of records by USA Today. The actual number of troops with brain trauma suffered in Iraq or Afghanistan was more than five times the official tally, meaning that the true US casualty count could be much higher than reported.
Some 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans surveyed in VA hospitals showed some signs of brain injury, often as a result of a blast. Troops sometimes fail to recognize the symptoms of brain injury. A Pentagon consultant said those whose wounds were discovered only after they left Iraq were not on the official casualty list, but the brass is working to deal with the issue.