WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today in response to traumatic brain injury screening data recently released by the Department of Veterans Affairs:
"Traumatic brain injury is the signature wound for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I commend the Department of Veterans Affairs for stepping up their TBI screening for servicemembers who have returned from combat.
"VA found that of the 61,285 veterans screened since April 14, 2007, nearly 20 percent screened positive for traumatic brain injury symptoms. As VA identifies more veterans with TBI, we can expect those veterans to turn to VA for care and rehabilitation.
"I am engaged in final negotiations to pass legislation, included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which will enable VA to provide better TBI care through TBI centers of excellence, comprehensive prevention plans, and resources for rehabilitation and reintegration. This legislation is vital to the effort to ensure that those veterans who suffer with TBI receive the care they need, and the care they deserve.
"VA must be prepared to treat the wounds of today, even as they continue to meet the needs of veterans wounded in prior conflicts. I urge my colleagues to join with me in support of this comprehensive traumatic brain injury legislation that will benefit these brave veterans."