Traumatic Brain Injury Possibly Tied to Afghanistan Killings

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide
  • A Unites Sates Army staff sergeant walked into a small Afghan village in the middle of the night on March 11, 2012, and killed 16 people. He then walked back to his unit and turned himself in. But family members of the deceased reported seeing a group of United States soldiers in their village who walked into their homes and began shooting. A grieving father charged that the soldiers also burned the bodies of his children. Shown in the photo above, President Barack Obama spoke on the phone with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to express his shock and sadness. United States officials are reporting the there was a lone gunman, and The White House released a statement with President Barack Obama saying the attack was a "tragic and shocking" event. He also sent his condolences to the victims' families, affirming he would "get the facts as quickly as possible and hold accountable anyone responsible."

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    The unnamed sergeant is from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, and 2nd Infantry Division Battalion at the Joint Base Lewis McChord in Seattle, Washington. He is a trained sniper and a married father of two who enlisted in the Army two weeks after September 11, 2001. He has had three tours of duty in Iraq and was on his first deployment in Afghanistan. In 2010, he sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while in Iraq, and there is some conversation about an earlier injury; and he was taking medication for this injury, according to a United States defense official. He was cleared for duty after he had his pre and post deployment health evaluations.


    How does a traumatic brain injury fit into this horrific scene? Most people who suffer a TBI don't go on to commit horrible atrocities. I think we are beginning to see the real destruction a brain injury can have on someone's life. This man was not ready to be deployed again, and no one saw it. Maybe his wife and children did, but I bet most others looked away. Now we have 16 innocent people dead, and three other lives that have been shattered possible due to traumatic brain injury.




    Drummond, Katie. "What Role Did Accused Soldier's Brain Injury Play in Afghan Massacre?" March, 13, 2012.


    Miklaszewski, Jim; Kube, Courtney. "Soldier accused in Afghan massacre had brain injury history." World News on March 12, 2012.


    Nadem, Ahmad., Haroon, Ahmad. "Sixteen Afghan Civilians Killed in rouge U.S. attack." March 11, 2012.


    Garamone, Jim. "Officials condemn Afganistan shooting, offer condolences." American Forces Press Service. March 12, 2012.


    Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. Army.


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    © HealthCentral Network, 2012.  
    Last updated March 13, 2012.

Published On: March 13, 2012