Concussions Now Qualify for Purple Heart

Week of March 21, 2011

The Army has announced a clarification in its guidelines for receiving a Purple Heart, with an emphasis on battlefield concussions being eligible for the medal. Official Army guidelines have long considered combat-sustained concussions a valid injury worthy of the Purple Heart, but in practice, it has been left to doctors or battlefield commanders to decide whether a blow to the head during combat warranted the medal. With recent studies on brain trauma, however, the rules have been revised to state what constitutes a concussion, with symptoms including momentary loss of consciousness or memory, dizziness, headache, nausea or light sensitivity. Medical treatment, also required for the medal, is defined by the rules to include merely rest and Tylenol. If you are a Soldier who suffered a concussion and feel you may not have been appropriately recognized for a Purple Heart, the Army urges you to re-apply through your chain of command. Veterans can call 888-276-9472 or email