Invisible Wounds is a series of portraits and audio interviews highlighting veterans and their stories of time spent deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi and Operation Enduring Freedom. The veterans shown suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of blast exposure during combat operations. These veterans, who are no longer actively serving, live and work within your communities. You may see them and never be aware of their injuries. There may not be any burns, scars, missing limbs, or other visible markers to separate them from anyone else you see. Their struggle is hidden, but it is one they will carry with them forever.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as "a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury." Individuals can experience a TBI through everyday activities like playing contact sports, being involved in a car accident, or falling and striking their head. Military service members and Veterans are also at risk of brain injury from explosions experienced during combat or training exercises."
"Due to improved diagnostics and increased vigilance, there are now more accurate statistics on military TBI rates. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) reported nearly 414,000 TBIs among U.S. service members worldwide between 2000 and late 2019. More than 185,000 Veterans who use VA for their health care have been diagnosed with at least one TBI."
"Conditions stemming from TBI can range from headaches, irritability, and sleep disorders to memory problems, slower thinking, and depression. These conditions often lead to long-term mental and physical health problems that can impair Veterans' employment, family relationships, and reintegration into home communities." - Department of Veteran Affairs
click an image to hear their stories