'This Week' Transcript: Gen Peter Chiarelli

CHIARELLI: I was on the ground in Afghanistan. And if you go to the east, if you go to the south, and if you see the Resilience Centers that we've established for soldiers who are in blast, any soldier...

AMANPOUR: Sorry, what's a Resilience Center?

CHIARELLI: A Resilience Center is somewhere where a soldier goes in the event he's in a blast. If he's in a vehicle that's damaged, is he's within 15 meters of a blast and he's outside. If he's in a building with a blast or if he loses consciousness, that individual is evaluated. Even if they pass that first evaluation and do not have a concussion, they're not allowed in the fight for 24 hours.

Sometimes the symptoms of concussion don't display themselves for 24 hours. We give them a second evaluation, and if they pass that, they in fact go back to duty. If they fail either one of those in that 24-hour period, they go to a resilience center where we rest them until the brain has had an opportunity to heal from that concussion.

AMANPOUR: And before that, you would have just rotated them back onto duty?

CHIARELLI: Before that, we had soldiers who knew that they'd had a concussion, knew that they had had their, quote, "bell rung," and they did nothing about it.

AMANPOUR: Let me play you something that the physical therapist at Walter Reed told Bob Woodruff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The amount of injuries that are now, like double and triple amputees, that's increased a lot. We have many more, like, amputees that are missing two, three, some four limbs, where initially it was just much more usual to have, like, a below-knee amputee or an above-knee amputee. Now there's a lot of doubles and triples, you know. That's been a big change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: I mean, she's describing the affects of what appear to be much bigger, more devastating bombs. Is that right? Is that right?

CHIARELLI: That's right. You know, I spent 20 -- I spent an entire day with 24 of the finest researchers in TBI and PTS, and they told me there are genetic factors. Some people are more prone in a blast to get a concussion than other people because of the way their body is made up. We know in treating PTS the closer you treat PTS to the event that occurs, the more likely you are to help that individual. So much so that they told me that, if the event occurs in the morning, it's very important that you bring the individual's anxiety level down before they go to sleep that night, because in REM sleep, something happens in the brain that causes an individual to remember that and make the PTS harder to treat.

AMANPOUR: So there's so much new information coming out about this.

CHIARELLI: Well, there's so much research doing -- being done. And we need to do more research. You know, no one's -- no one's complaining about the way that we are working with amputees and the research that's being done there. The issue is, we just don't know that much about the brain. We automatically assume so many times that a person that's in a blast has a concussion. Many times, they don't have a concussion. Instead, they have posttraumatic stress.

AMANPOUR: You saw also the lady, the intelligence specialist, chemical specialist in Bob's report who is homeless. Why is it that women service members have higher rates of homelessness, unemployment and suicide?

Page
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...