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Sen. Angus King calls on military to screen service members for brain injury immediately

Nicole Herling, sister of shooter Robert Card II, rests her hand on her brother's military helmet, while testifying, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Augusta, Maine, during a hearing of the independent commission investigating the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
Nicole Herling, sister of shooter Robert Card II, rests her hand on her brother's military helmet, while testifying, Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Augusta, Maine, during a hearing of the independent commission investigating the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine.

Frustrated by what he said is the "lack of urgency and coordination in addressing brain injuries and their effects on mental health," Senator Angus King is urging the Department of Defense to take immediate action to screen service members. King said it's a personal issue for him and for his constituents.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, King has been working to address the physical and mental health needs of veterans for more than a decade. But the revelation that Robert Card, the man responsible for the mass shootings in Lewiston last October had brain damage has put the issue front and center for King, for other members of Maine's congressional delegation and for Robert Card's family.

Card was a part time Army Reservist who was exposed to hundreds of low level blasts over more than 20 years of service. He killed 18 people after reportedly hearing voices and acting erratically over several months.

King said baseline screenings of service members for brain injures, starting with higher risk populations should begin immediately. He also wants the DOD to track the data and address the links between blast exposure, brain injuries and mental health. He points out that similar baselines have been conducted for high school athletes for years.