Mild traumatic brain injury screening, diagnosis, and treatment

Mil Med. 2012 Aug;177(8 Suppl):67-75. doi: 10.7205/milmed-d-12-00110.


The majority of combat-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) within the U.S. Armed Forces is mild TBI (mTBI). This article focuses specifically on the screening, diagnosis, and treatment aspects of mTBI within the military community. Aggressive screening measures were instituted in 2006 to ensure that the mTBI population is identified and treated. Screenings occur in-theater, outside the contiguous United States, and in-garrison. We discuss specific screening procedures at each screening setting. Current diagnosis of mTBI is based upon self-report or through witnesses to the event. TBI severity is determined by specific Department of Defense criteria. Abundant clinician resources are available for mTBI in the military health care setting. Education resources for both the patient and the clinician are discussed in detail. An evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the care of mTBI was created through collaborative efforts of the DoD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Although symptoms following mTBI generally resolve with time, active treatment is centered on symptom management, supervised rest, recovery, and patient education. Medical specialty care, ancillary services, and other therapeutic services may be required.

MeSH terms

  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Algorithms
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion / therapy
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Military Personnel*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Telemedicine