TBI Among Service Members and Veterans

More than 450,000 U.S. service members were diagnosed with a TBI from 2000 to 2021.1

Studies suggest that service members and Veterans who have sustained a TBI may:

  • Have ongoing symptoms2
  • Experience co-occurring health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression3,4

It is currently unclear if poorer physical and mental health outcomes following a TBI (such as depression) among Veterans are specific to the injury or if other factors, such as deployment and exposure to combat, play a stronger role.5

The Report to Congress on traumatic brain injury in the United States: Understanding the public health problem among current and former military personnel, developed by CDC, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration, includes an overview of TBI among service members and Veterans. It also includes several considerations to address this important public health problem.

Details on TBI among service members and Veterans may be found on the Veterans Administration website. Visit the Military Health System’s Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence website for more information and support for service members, Veterans, and families and caregivers.

  1. Department of Defense. Numbers for Traumatic Brain Injury Worldwide. https://health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Centers-of-Excellence/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Center-of-Excellence/DOD-TBI-Worldwide-Numbers.
  2. Mac Donald C, Johnson A, Wierzechowski L, et al. Outcome trends after U.S. military concussive traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 2017;34(14):2206-2219.
  3. O’Neil M, Carlson K, Storzbach D, et al. Complications of mild traumatic brain injury in Veterans and military personnel: A systematic review. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2013.
  4. Lindquist L, Love H, Elbogen E. Traumatic brain injury in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans: New results from a national random sample study. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci2017;29(3):254-259.
  5. Reid MW, Velez CS. Discriminating military and civilian traumatic brain injuries. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2015;66(B):123-128.