DAYTON -- Ohio's Democratic U.S. senator says early documentation of military service incidents could help veterans later when they seek treatment.
Sen. Sherrod Brown is promoting legislation about creating records of exposure to events that could result in post-traumatic stress disorder, mild traumatic brain injuries or other issues. Brown discussed the bill during recent visits to Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Dayton and Struthers, near Youngstown, and in other Ohio stops.
What's called the Significant Event Tracker Act would have unit commanders document incidents, with the Defense Department sending the information to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Having the information on record could help in making medical diagnoses later.
The Dayton Daily News reports that veterans say such records could particularly help support-unit troops or others not in regular combat units but get exposed to explosives or gunfire during their duties or suffer concussions.
"We're hope this (bill) is something that can really make a difference, if done right," said C. Michael Fairman of Columbus. The veteran said he began pushing for the change after struggling with his own issues from service in Afghanistan and after a close friend killed himself two years after returning home from war duty.
"My hopes are high," Fairman said.
The information could help make it easier for veterans to get treatment and file claims for service-related disabilities.
"When a soldier goes to the VA, we know what a struggle it's been," said Brown, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee