Our military servicemen and women are rightfully treated as American heroes. They volunteer to fight for our freedoms, taking on any sacrifice asked of them to protect our country. When they return home, however, their fight is not over: too often, veterans experience brain injuries that affect daily life long after they’ve left the combat zone. Though VA hospitals do their best to help treat such injuries, much is still unknown about the way symptoms of head trauma manifest.

Medical researchers are currently trying to understand how blast force brain injuries – most frequently sustained in combat situations – result in brain damage. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are common causes of such injuries, and those who survive such explosions are likely to suffer brain damage. By further researching this kind of injuries, researchers hope to create better methods of treatment. Indeed, blast force brain injuries have been around since the days of World War I – known then as shell shock – and can result in everything from sleep disorders to memory problems.

One researcher noted the lack of proximity to exploding WWI shells to soldiers experiencing shell shock. Many men had not been close to the explosions, yet still experienced brain injuries. These injuries often went undiagnosed, as soldiers often did not appear to be physically wounded. This common problem still occurs today, with many head traumas being easily dismissed. From the ball field to the combat zone, concussions and other brain injuries cannot be taken lightly. Athletes and soldiers alike can be in for a lifetime of pain that can be traced back to traumatic brain injuries.