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
Soldiers With Concussions Denied Purple Hearts
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.

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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."
(Read more US military stories.)

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