Bill to track vet injuries PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Thursday, 29 May 2014 09:08
File photo. Sherrod Brown. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Those hurt or disabled while serving the armed forces face new challenges after combat ends.
Not least of those is proving the injuries happened.
Many service members can't or don't document their troubles and what caused them, be it the firefight in which they were shot or the equipment that accidentally fell and injured them. But a lack of proof, while understandable considering the circumstances, often stuns vets for the second time when they're asked to provide it to support their medical claim.
That's what prompted Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to push a bill to better track the injuries of veterans, as many as 300,000 of whom suffer from post traumatic stress. Another 25,000 troops face mild traumatic brain injuries, according to Brown's office.
With any injuries, veterans are required to provide written testimony from others who witnessed the injury, supporting medical documentation, or military orders that support the claim.
That information can be difficult to piece together, particularly if health problems surface later in life. And with post-traumatic stress and brain injury, there's often no sign of a problem until much later.
The Department of Defense records significant events for every military unit, but those events are not currently transferred to the files of individual members of that unit.
The senator worked with Michael Fairman, an Ohio veteran, in developing the Significant Event Tracker Act, which would allow service members to self-report injuries and the events that cause them.
Brown appeared in at the VFW in Northwood Wednesday with Fairman and Alexander Powell, a local veteran and University of Toledo student who also spoke in support of the measure.
"When veterans seek claims for war-related injuries like post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, the burden for establishing the connection should be on the Department of Defense, not on the veteran," Brown said in a statement.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 10:52

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