America’s Brain Injury Epidemic 8:00, 2006 (Ref: NA06468)


The number of American brain injured soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is now considered to be at epidemic proportions. This film gives a remarkable insight into the Californian facility that is trying to cope with America’s 800 brain damaged veterans of the Iraq war. In Iraq, rapid advances in body armour and battlefield medicine mean soldiers are more likely to stay alive than in any previous American war. But the hidden cost of this survival is a ‘brain injury epidemic’ – according to army doctors. When this film was produced, more than 16,000 American soldiers had been wounded in Iraq. Seventeen hundred could be brain damaged, according to one report. But unofficial estimates put this figure as high as nearly 7,000 with only 800 of them treated at specialist brain injury units. Potentially thousands of troops are still undiagnosed. We were given rare access to a specialist military brain injury unit in Palo Alto, California.