Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. is seeking more information from the Trump Administration on the injuries suffered by U.S. serviceman injured by Iran bomb’s earlier this month
Pascrell, co-chair and founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, is responding to the recent comments of President Donald Trump that suggested the impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) to mere “headaches.” Pascrell, in his letter to the Department of Defense, asks for more information on the extent of U.S. servicemember injuries resulting from Iran’s attack of an U.S. military base Jan. 8 in Iraq.
After the attack, 11 United States servicemembers were evacuated to Kuwait and Germany with evidence of concussion and traumatic brain injury. While discussing the attack on the Al-Asad airbase, President Trump stated he does not consider brain injury and concussion to be a serious combat wound, downplaying brain injury symptoms to “headaches.”
“As the co-chair and founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, the comments of the Commander-in-Chief are concerning and show a clear lack of understanding of the devastating impacts of brain injury,” wrote Rep. Pascrell.
In the letter, Pascrell questions:
- Why were troops not required to report to bunkers for injury prevention and overall personnel safety despite warnings of the attack?
- Has the Department of Defense ensured that servicemembers were screened for blast injuries and concussions?
- Of the initial 11 servicemembers transported to Kuwait and Germany for treatment, how many sustained a brain injury?
- How many servicemembers were included in the second transport to Germany for treatment and evaluation?
Rep. Pascrell has been a leader in advancing brain injury policy on Capitol Hill, co-founding and serving as co-chair for the Congressional Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force in 2001. The task force works to increase awareness of brain injury in the U.S., supports research initiatives for rehabilitation and potential cures, and strives to address the effects these injuries have on all Americans, including children, members of the Armed Forces, and athletes.
Effects of traumatic brain injury can be short-term or long-term, and include impaired thinking or memory, movement, vision or hearing, or emotional functioning, such as personality changes or depression. Currently, between 3.2 million and 5.3 million people, including civilians, veterans, and servicemembers, live with a TBI-related disability in the U.S.