Number of Troops With Brain Injuries Climbs Again

Trump now is 'very concerned,' defense secretary says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2020 6:00 PM CST

(Newser) – About 200 US military personnel who were in the blast zone when Iranian missiles hit an Iraqi base early this month have now been screened. Of those, 64 have been diagnosed as having mild traumatic brain injury—up from 50 earlier this week, CNN reports. That number could increase again; another 50 people haven't been examined yet. In addition, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs said Thursday, the symptoms of mild injuries don't surface immediately. Of the injured, "some of them have been evacuated to Europe, some have been evacuated back to the United States, so there is a layered approach to this," Gen. Mark Milley said at the Pentagon. The monitoring of the injured will continue for years, Milley said.

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Last week, President Trump had referred to the brain injuries as "headaches" that are "not very serious." At the press conference Thursday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he's talked to Trump since then and described his attitude differently, per ABC. "He is very concerned about the health and welfare of all of our service members," Esper said, "particularly those who were involved in the operations in Iraq, and he understands the nature of these injuries." More than 400,000 US service members have suffered traumatic brain injuries in the past two decades, according to government data. (Read more traumatic brain injury stories.)

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