Home > NewsRelease > BRAIN WOUND UPDATE #13: Holistic Total Force Fitness to Maximize Performance
BRAIN WOUND UPDATE #13: Holistic Total Force Fitness to Maximize Performance
TreatNOW Coalition --  Concussion Protocol Experts TreatNOW Coalition -- Concussion Protocol Experts
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Arlington, VA
Thursday, August 31, 2023



A senior retired US Navy SEAL officer has weighed in with a six part justification for ACTION to fight suicide. His remarks relate to short- and long-term needs for dealing with force readiness amidst known challenges in the SpecOps community. His remarks are in concert with the Interview with the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC), Ramón Colón-López that follows his remarks.


Holistic Total Force Fitness to Maximize Performance

1. The M16A2 was discarded in SOF beginning in 1992 with the introduction of the CAR-15 and M-4 in the early 90’s.  I was witness to that. The shortened barrels were, to say the least, “most noticeable”, and in live fire drills, the concussive forces were enhanced around operators. Conventional forces did not receive these shortened rifles until circa 2010 in response to the need for shortened barrels in urban combat, which then also exacerbated the concussive forces during CQB operations in rooms. Constant exposure to shoulder-fired rockets, mortar, and artillery fire added to the cumulative effects. This is to say nothing about the constant exposure to IED blast waves, which, were the most injurious, and close-air support blast waves. All those constantly exposed to these concussive forces over multiple deployments will have physiological effects, lending to the neurological.

2. TBI, given the above, is akin to Decompression Sickness, physiologically, again lending to the neurological issues. Research has documented the evidence. The Textbook of Military Medicine, the volume entitled Ballistics, Blasts and Burn Injuries, has an algorithm on page 313. It is entitled Neurological Abnormalities in the Blast Casualty. HBOT is identified as definitive as treatment option.

3. This is not to discount the need for counseling; however, as I discussed with seniors, any operator, SOF or otherwise, who seeks help for TBI and suicidal ideation, is often stigmatized. It is akin to one seeking help for a perceived alcohol problem. We have witnessed those men and women immediately being separated from their comrades, which is in itself harmful, and the same appears to be the case for this issue. Rather, the solution should be immediate treatment with HBOT while still “on-the-line”, or, taken “off-line” as one would be for any illness while still retaining group and billet status.  For any SOF operator, especially, referring to this in that light also de-stigmatizes the problem. 

4. HBOT should be a health maintenance issue to deal with the prevalent and cumulative concussive forces from live fire in all forms.  As an aside, HBOT would also assist in treatment according to the recently passed “burn pit” legislation. All warfighters are also subjected to the noxious gasses from carbines, rockets, artillery, along with the very nasty particulate matter encountered in AFG and Iraq. This is a readiness issue.

5. HBOT should be proffered by our health professionals as a performance enhancement issue. Olympic and professional athletes utilize HBOT for this reason. SOF operators, especially, will be lining up to enhance their performance. TBI and/or residual effects could then heretofor be corrected in a positive light. Overall, though, this is a combat enhancement and effectiveness issue.

6. One must ask why hyperbaric environments are questioned for TBI when it is considered medical protocol when dealing with Decompression Sickness (DCS) and Arterial Gas Embolism (AGE), wound ostomy, diabetic neuropathy, hearing and vision loss, radiation injuries, CO and airborne particulate poisoning, severe bone and skin infections, [and] trauma from force or pressure on a body part.

    Lastly, the constant exposure and cumulative effects to these blast waves, and the more acute exposure to the higher pressure waves in IEDs, etc, have the same effects as head trauma/ concussions in sports.  Football legend Joe Namath has had his concussion injuries healed by 120 treatments of HBOT. His testimony is available on YouTube, and, he is the proponent for chambers being emplaced in stadiums for immediate treatment in concussion protocol. 


Interview with Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC), Ramón Colón-López.

The Military Heath System, together with DoD’s Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, interviewed SEAC. Highlights are consistent with remarks above.

The Warfighter Brain Health (WBH) Initiative is a joint effort between operational and medical communities with the focus to optimize warfighter brain health, immediately detect brain injury when it occurs and combat its effects on warfighters, their families, line leaders/commanders, and their communities at large.

WBH is defined as the physical, psychological, and cognitive status that affect a warfighter’s capacity to function adaptively in any environment, and impacts readiness, operational capability, mission effectiveness, and the goal to achieve overmatch or superior lethality

MISSION: Act rapidly to provide products, practices, and policies to directly impact warfighter brain health and performance. Due to experience and realities across the community, a major emphasis is to understand the implications of blast overpressure (include underwater and subterranean exposures); blunt force trauma; high G acceleration/ vibration/ recoil; incoming/ near missed impact (e.g. ballistic missiles); ballistic projectiles; directed energy (e.g., electromagnetic fields (EMF) and UV radiation); chemical-biological-gas toxins; and other environmental hazards.

SEAC defined “resiliency” as the threshhold for misery. No matter how resilient a warrior, symptoms keep coming. Slowed thinking, reactions, memory lapses, pain, reduced energy degrade readiness and ability to perform at peak levels.

The Comprehensive Strategy for Warfighter Brain Health Initiative 2018 study on the effects of low level blasts, section 734, calls for more efforts to confront effects of Blast.

SEAC referred to “the 3 greys”:

  1. grey area of new operational environment: conventional peer-to-peer has given way to unconventional warfare
  2. grey area of grey steel deterrence: ships, missiles, aircraft are evolving to leverage the revolution in military and technical breakthroughs.
  3. grey matter: human performance, intellect, speed of response, judgement. In this last insight, SEAC calls on the Services to pay as much attention to restoration of the human as to the weapons and the doctrine. Degraded Warriors imperil our ability to prevail.

NOTE: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) meets and exeeds the challenge implicit in SEAC’s challenge: Identify evidence-based cognitive and physical performance restoration treatments.


Worth Reading

** In the largest study of neurodegenerative disease from Boston University’s CTE Center, sixty-three out of the 152 donated brains (41%) had autopsy-confirmed CTE. All cases were athletes under the age of 30 at the time of their death. The majority were amateur athletes (71.4%).

The report, published in JAMA Neurology on 28 AUG 2023 describes the features of 152 brains donated between February 1, 2008, and September 31, 2022, to the UNITE brain bank — the largest tissue repository in the world focused on traumatic brain injury and CTE.

Most of the donors analyzed played football (60%), followed by soccer (15%) and ice hockey (10%). Other sports implicated were amateur wrestling, rugby and professional wrestling.

The study shows that 87 of the 152 donors died by suicide, including 33 donors who also had CTE. Dr McKee noted: “The most common cause of death across the board, whether they had CTE or not, was suicide, followed by accidental overdose.” McKee adds that the longer someone plays football, in particular, their risk of developing CTE doubles every 2.6 years.

ALSO OF NOTE: The healthcare costs of TBI, driven by cost prices and the healthcare consumption of patients, will cause major economic and societal challenges, as estimates indicate the worldwide annual economic burden of TBI to be US $400 billion dollars, which is 0.5% of the gross world product.


The TreatNOW Mission is ending service member suicides. Along the way, we have learned that we can help heal the symptoms and effects of acute concussion/TBI/PTSD by helping heal brain wounds.

Heal Brains. Stop Suicides. Restore Lives. TreatNOW

Information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.

Key Words:  Special Operators, veterans, suicide, athletesbrain healthblast injurybrain injurybrain woundChronic Traumatic Encephalopathyconcussionconcussion protocolConcussion SymptomsCTEHBOTHyperbaric Oxygen therapyTBITBItreatmenttraumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Robert L. Beckman. PhD
Group: TreatNOW Coalition
Dateline: Arlington, VA United States
Direct Phone: 703-346-8432
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