Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno recently announced a groundbreaking partnership between the military and the National Football League to increase awareness about the seriousness of concussions and other head injuries.
Raising awareness about traumatic brain and other head injuries often linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been a priority for the military over the past several years. Head injuries and their serious, sometimes deadly consequences are something both military members and NFL players are all too familiar with.
Often referred to as invisible injuries, concussions and head injuries are often overlooked by the military and football teams. Unfortunately, multiple head injuries and concussions can lead to serious complications like psychological and neurological disorders. For this reason, the main goal of the partnership is to reduce the stigma associated with head injuries so they can be treated effectively.
'We have to make them (service members) understand that you have to come forward because it has to be treated.' - Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno
Six out of 10 NFL players have suffered concussions and a third report having three or more. Similarly, nearly 230,000 reports of traumatic brain injuries have been reported among soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of head injuries that go untreated is expected to be far higher.
The prevalence of head injuries in both groups coupled with the popularity of the NFL and service members alike is expected to be a key factor in the initiative’s success.
Fundamental creeds like teamwork and not letting your buddies down are a major influence on these injuries going untreated. The formal initiative, which will most likely launch later this summer, focuses on staying healthy and reporting injuries for proper treatment.
Beyond spreading the word and reducing the stigma, this partnership also seeks to pool resources to improve treatment technologies and better distribute resources for those who are affected.