Active duty and reserve service members are at increased risk for sustaining a TBI compared to their civilian peers. This is a result of several factors, including the specific demographics of the military; in general, young men between the ages of 18 to 24 are at greatest risk for TBI. Many routine operational and training activities in the military are physically demanding and often dangerous. Military service personnel increasingly are deployed to combat areas where they are at risk for sustaining blast injuries from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), suicide bombers, land mines, mortar fire and Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs). These and other combat related activities place military service members at increased risk for sustaining aTBI.
Although recent attention has been intensively focused on combat-related TBI, it should be noted that TBI is not uncommon even in training facilities and garrisons, and can occur during usual daily activities. Armed services members enjoy and commonly participate in exciting leisure activities: they ride motorcycles, climb mountains, sky dive and parachute from planes for recreation. In addition, vigorous physical training is an integral part of the active duty service member’s everyday life. These activities contribute to a positive quality of life; but also can increase the risk for a TBI.1