Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) among UK military personnel whilst deployed in Afghanistan in 2011

Norman Jones*, Nicola T. Fear, Roberto Rona, Mohammed Fertout, Gursimran Thandi, Simon Wessely, Neil Greenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: mTBI has been termed the ‘signature injury’ of recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most mTBI research uses retrospective accounts of exposure and point of injury symptoms; mTBI is reportedly less common among UK than US Forces.

Methods: This study examined the rate of mTBI exposure and symptoms in 1363 UK military personnel deployed in Afghanistan in 2011 using a self-report questionnaire. Data were collected in the operational location during the 5th month of a 6-month deployment. Personnel reported injuries and symptoms related to six events including fragmentation, blast, bullet, fall, motor vehicle accident and ‘other’ exposure.

Results: Eighty (5.9%) reported at least one potential mTBI exposure during the current deployment and 1.6% (n = 22) reported injury and one or more mTBI symptoms (1 year incidence rate = 3.2%). Higher PTSD symptom scores were significantly associated with reporting potential mTBI (p ≤ 0.001) and mTBI with symptoms (p ≤ 0.001).

Conclusion: This study used contemporaneous data gathered in the deployed location which are subject to less memory distortion than studies using post-deployment recall. The incidence of mTBI was substantially lower than those reported in both US and UK post-deployment studies which is consistent with inflated reporting of symptoms when measured post-deployment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-899
Number of pages4
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number7
Early online date12 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Concussion
  • Cultural
  • Evaluation
  • Head injury
  • Mild brain injury
  • Neuropsychiatric


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