Objective: Report the prevalence of lifetime and military-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans and validate the Boston Assessment of TBI–Lifetime (BAT-L).
Setting: The BAT-L is the first validated, postcombat, semistructured clinical interview to characterize head injuries and diagnose TBIs throughout the life span.
Participants: Community-dwelling convenience sample of 131 OEF/OIF veterans.
Design: TBI criteria (alteration of mental status, posttraumatic amnesia, and loss of consciousness) were evaluated for all possible TBIs, including a novel evaluation of blast exposure.
Main Measures: BAT-L, Ohio State University TBI Identification Method (OSU-TBI-ID).
Results: About 67% of veterans incurred a TBI in their lifetime. Almost 35% of veterans experienced at least 1 military-related TBI; all were mild in severity, 40% of them were due to blast, 50% were due to some other (ie, blunt) mechanism, and 10% were due to both types of injuries. Predeployment TBIs were frequent (45% of veterans). There was strong correspondence between the BAT-L and the OSU-TBI-ID (Cohen κ = 0.89; Kendall τ-b = 0.95). Interrater reliability of the BAT-L was strong (κs >0.80).
Conclusions: The BAT-L is a valid instrument with which to assess TBI across a service member's lifetime and captures the varied and complex nature of brain injuries across OEF/OIF veterans' life span.