Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Number of wounded troops in Afghanistan increasing

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 11, 2009

By KIMBERLY HEFLING (AP) – 3 hours ago

WASHINGTON — Far from winding down, the numbers of U.S. soldiers coming home wounded have continued to swell. The problem is especially acute among those fighting in Afghanistan, where nearly four times as many troops were injured in October as a year ago.

Amputations, burns, brain injuries and shrapnel wounds proliferate in Afghanistan, due mostly to increasingly potent improvised bombs targeting U.S. forces. Snipers’ bullets and mortar rounds also are to blame.

Of particular concern are the so-called hidden wounds, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder that can have long-term side effects such as depression.

Since 2007, more than 70,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury — more than 20,000 of them this year, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. Most of the injuries are mild but leave symptoms such as headaches and difficulty concentrating.

Vince Short, 42, a former Army specialist who suffered brain injuries in a 2003 roadside bomb attack in Iraq, said he can’t help but feel for the soldiers coming home from Afghanistan with similar wounds.

“I cry out for them. It’s tough. It’s hard to put it in words,” Short, who served with the District of Columbia Army National Guard, said in an interview at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, where he receives weekly physical and mental therapy.

Thanks to the therapy, he said, he’s in a good place. But in the early years of his recovery, he found it difficult to return to work, and his marriage fell apart. Short said he was confident and motivated before he was injured. Now, he has memory problems and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“At that point, there was still a lot of panicking going on inside of me because it’s like, ‘What’s going to happen to me?'” said Short.

“I used to have a career. I used to have a good solid marriage. I was doing really good, and now look at me.

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