According to National Public Radio and ProPublica, a new study shows that many soldiers receive concussions from their basic hand-to-hand combat training before they are ever deployed to a war zone.
The study looked at soldiers taking ‘combatives’ in their training at Fort Hood in Texas. The study suggests that a soldier got a concussion in those classes every other day, on average, over nine months.
But here’s why the findings already raise red flags: The researchers found that almost 6 percent of the soldiers in those classes reported that they had just been struck in the head and were suffering the constellation of symptoms that the Defense Department says signal mild traumatic brain injuries.
They include “altered mental status,” such as confusion and disorientation, plus a combination of other symptoms such as headaches, nausea and balance problems.
To put that 6 percent figure in perspective: Army spokesmen say more than 100,000 soldiers took hand-to-hand combat last year, at bases across the country, and hundreds of thousands have taken combatives over the past decade.
If the findings at Fort Hood reflect what’s happening at other bases, it could mean that thousands of soldiers went to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan after suffering concussions in training.