New Purple Heart rules include mild traumatic brain injuries

Marines who suffered battlefield concussions in Iraq and Afghanistan may now qualify for one of the nation's most familiar military honors, according to a new policy.

Corps officials announced last month that Marines who sustained mild traumatic brain injuries in combat are now eligible to receive the Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is awarded to servicemembers across all branches of the military who were wounded or killed by enemy fire.

Under the new policy, Marines can qualify for the medal if a medical officer determines he is not fit for full duty "due to persistent signs, symptoms or findings of functional impairment for a period greater than 48 hours from the time of the concussive incident," according to the order.

The recent revision, retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001, eliminates the requirement that the medal only be awarded for mild traumatic brain injury if the Marine lost consciousness.

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