In March, Reps. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) presented a bipartisan letter to the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Defense requesting inclusion of $30 million for the Peer-Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program (PRORP) in the Defense Appropriations legislation for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons was instrumental in the establishment of the PRORP, which provides support for focused basic and clinical research through direct grants to research institutions and aims to provide all military personnel affected by orthopaedic injuries sustained in the course of their duties the opportunity for optimal recovery and restoration of function.
According to the letter, extremity injuries are the number one battlefield injury. Most of these wounds are caused by improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, and high-velocity gunshot wounds. Unfortunately, amputation following these types of battlefield injuries occurs at twice the rate of past wars.
“[The PRORP program has] become critical to the treatment of our wounded servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and an increase in program funding is essential to fulfilling the debt of gratitude we owe to those who protect our freedom,” the legislators wrote. “The need for this research has never been greater and more immediate.”