On December 13, 2017, Thom Tillis (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Personnel, held a hearing to receive testimony updating the subcommittee on research, diagnosis, and treatment for traumatic brain injury/concussion in service members. In introducing the hearing, Senator Tillis noted: “Since 2000, the Department of Defense diagnosed over 370,000 service members with traumatic brain injury, with the majority of them diagnosed in non-deployment settings. This is not a unique problem within the Department of Defense however– it is a national problem. Last year alone, there were about 2.5 million emergency room visits related to concussions in the United States, and medical experts believe there were many more concussed individuals who did not seek medical care. Congress must pursue multiple approaches to understand better the chronic effects of traumatic brain injury, including the long-term neurodegenerative problems associated with multiple concussive injuries.”
The subcommittee members heard testimony from two panels. The first panel consisted of Dr. David W. Dodick – Sports Neurology And Concussion Program Director, Mayo Clinic; Dr. Steven D. Devick – Chief Executive Officer King-Devick Technologies, Inc; and Dr. Christopher M. Miles – Associate Director, Sports Medicine Fellowship, Wake Forest University. The second panel was comprised of Dr. Joel D. Scholten – Associate Chief Of Staff For Rehabilitation Services For The Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC; Dr. David X. Cifu – Principal Investigator, Chronic Effects Of Neurotrauma Consortium, Department Of Veterans’ Affairs; and Captain (Dr.) Michael J. Colston, USN – Director, Military Health Policy And Oversight For The Assistant Secretary Of Defense For Health Affairs.
In the YouTube video below, Dr. Dodick of the Mayo Clinic gives a marvelous introduction pointing out that TBI/Concussion affects a wider segment of the population than is often recognized or reported, such as battered spouses, in addition to athletes and soldiers. Dr. Devick, an optometrist who has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to advance the utilization of the King-Devick Test, points out that there is a three-legged stool for rapid assessment of concussion, incorporating eye movement testing, balance testing, and cognitive testing.
Here is the video presentation in its entirety, with the testimony by Doctors Dodick and Devick comprising the bulk of first half of the proceedings. It is a very comprehensive presentation of the issues, and should be well worth your time in watching.