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War Surgery and Medicine

Simple Concussion

Simple Concussion

The 600 cases discharged from the service for this disability or applying for pension are tabulated according to the arm of the service. In parentheses are the numbers alleging pre-enlistment injury.

Overseas NZ Service
Army 333 (66) 114 (31)
Air 65 (13) 66 (17)
Navy 7 (0) 9 (2)
J Force 4 (2)
page 650

A study of the files has shown that the vast majority do not suffer any physical injury from concussion. Some of them never suffered from concussion, but were neurosis cases diagnosed early in the war as ‘post-concussion syndrome’.

There were 686 admissions to hospital for cerebral concussion in the Middle East from 1942 to 1945. Only 117 of these applied for pension in New Zealand. A further 47 who had been in hospital prior to 1942 also applied, as also did 104 who had never been in hospital for concussion. Many discharged for symptoms relating to head injury ceased to have any symptoms after gaining their discharge. The men applying for pension for concussion have mostly been found to have no sequelae due to physical injury and nearly all cases are pure neurosis.

Classification of these 268 cases applying for pension is:

Degree of Concussion Number Receiving Pension in 1950 Assessment
Slight 114 41 Most below 20 per cent
Moderate 36 12 Most below 20 per cent
Severe 11 7 30–75 per cent
No history 74 26
Alleged pre-enlistment 33 5
268 91

Except those who received severe concussion, of whom six had obvious physical sequelae, the fitness of the pensioners bore little relationship to the degree of concussion.