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Military Health System

Military Deployment May Increase the Risk for Traumatic Brain Injury Following Deployment.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Sponsoring Office: Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source:

Release Date/Publication: June 01, 2015

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Military Health System (MHS) Data Repository

Secondary DoD Data Source:


To compare rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis before and after overseas military deployment.

We conducted a retrospective examination of a cohort of 119 353 active duty US military service members (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) whose first lifetime overseas deployment began at any time between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011, and lasted at least for 30 days. For this cohort, TBI diagnoses were examined during the 76 weeks prior to deployment, during deployment, and 76 weeks following the end of deployment.

4-week rates of TBI diagnosis.

The risk of being diagnosed with TBI within 4 weeks after returning from deployment was 8.4 times higher than the average risk before deployment. The risk gradually decreased thereafter up to 40 weeks postdeployment. However, during the 41 to 76 weeks following deployment, risk stabilized but remained on average 1.7 times higher than before deployment.

An increased rate of TBI diagnosis following deployment was identified, which may be partly due to delayed diagnosis of TBIs that occurred while service members were deployed. Also, the increased rate may partly be due to riskier behaviors of service members following deployment that results in an increased occurrence of TBIs.


Regasa LE, Thomas DM, Gill RS, Marion DW, Ivins BJ. Military Deployment May Increase the Risk for Traumatic Brain Injury Following Deployment. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2015 Jun 19.

Last Updated: February 21, 2019
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