Press Release



January 22, 2020

Brain Injury Association of Virginia Responds to President’s Comments on Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) joins the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) in criticizing President Donald Trump’s recent comments about brain injuries sustained by U.S. troops during the January 8 Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi air base. During the World Economic Forum today in Davos, Switzerland, the President downplayed the severity of these brain injuries when asked why he earlier claimed no troops had been injured during the strike.

“I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things … and I can report it is not very serious,” Trump said. “No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen…I’ve seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops. I’ve seen people with no legs and with no arms. I’ve seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war.” “No, I do not consider that [head injuries] to be bad injuries, no,” he added.

BIAV’s national association, BIAA, issued a press release criticizing the President’s comments: “A brain injury changes the way you move, act, think, and feel – it has the potential to change who you are at your core. What could be more serious than that?” remarked Susan H. Connors, President and CEO of the BIAA. “As the nation’s oldest and largest brain injury advocacy organization, BIAA is disappointed in the President’s characterization of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as ‘just a headache’ and especially in his implication that those who sustain TBIs in service for their country are not suffering serious injuries.”

BIAV’s Executive Director, Anne McDonnell, echoes these remarks. “I have advocated for and provided services to people living with brain injuries for over 30 years and I can tell you first-hand, these injuries are quite serious. An invisible injury like TBI – where the person may appear to be fine – can be just as devastating as losing a limb. In the state of Virginia, where more than 300,000 people are disabled as a result of brain injury and stroke and thousands more families and caregivers are impacted, we do consider TBI a very serious issue.”

To read BIAA’s entire press release, visit To learn more about BIAV and how you can support Virginia’s brain injury community, visit


Anne McDonnell

Executive Director


[email protected]