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From the Marine Corps Times:

More U.S. troops who sustain combat-related brain injuries could soon be eligible for the Purple Heart.

Senior military leaders at the Pentagon are considering individual service proposals to change the guidelines for awarding the medal to troops who sustain mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions, Military Times has learned. The Purple Heart recognizes U.S. military personnel wounded or killed by enemy action.

It’s not immediately clear whether any new guidelines would allow for Purple Hearts to be awarded retroactively.

Officials from all four services are scheduled to meet this week with Dr. Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, to discuss the recommended changes, said Army Lt. Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who is leading the Army’s initiative.

“Up to now, he thinks soldiers have received concussions and not received Purple Hearts as they should,” Warren said.

Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos ordered the Marine Corps’ review to account for new research indicating the severity of a head wound is not necessarily linked to being knocked unconscious on the battlefield, as current Purple Heart criteria dictate, Marine officials said, noting that in some cases, the long-term effects can be far worse.

The issue, Warren said, is “what is a concussion?” The regulation, he said, awards Purple Hearts for concussions, but “do you have to be knocked out? Does your head have to bleed?”

Marine officials would not discuss details of their proposal.

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