An appeal to a physical evaluation board does not always seek admittance. In fact, sometimes a service member may need to have a disability officially confirmed before he or she becomes eligible for certain benefits. Our law firm has represented both active and former military members who believe they received incorrect determinations from a PEB. We can help build a strong case for proving a member’s true physical and/or mental condition.
One potentially troublesome area is brain injuries. In the specific example of traumatic brain injuries, the symptoms may not always be visible. Fortunately, opinions are changing, thanks to medical advances as well as the publicity generated by TBI-related news, such as the class action lawsuit brought by former NFL players suffering from the long-term consequences of TBIs.
The military has also followed suit. Troops exposed to potential head trauma from blasts previously were sent back into combat if they did not have visible injuries. Fortunately, that approach changed during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Troops are now screened for TBI injuries before returning to combat. Several tools may assist in that screening. One tool is called the Military Acute Concussion Evaluate, or MACE exam. Another tool is a sensor worn by troops that can measure if a bomb blast was strong enough to potentially cause brain trauma.
The military’s diagnostic approach to TBIs has certainly improved. Yet this type of injury is still not fully understood, and may not always be identified by MRI or CAT scans. If a service member was exposed to forces that could have resulted in a brain injury, he or she should keep a journal of any persistent symptoms. Headaches, fatigue, disorientation, cognitive or memory difficulties, mood swings, attention deficits, loss of consciousness or other unusual symptoms might indicate some type of brain injury.
Source: NPR, “How A Team Of Elite Doctors Changed The Military's Stance On Brain Trauma,” June 10, 2016