Sen. Dick Durbin on Monday announced he would soon be introducing two bills that aim to help veterans returning from combat with serious injuries.
One bill -- the Wounded Warrior Workforce Enhancement Act of 2013 -- would fund grants for universities to develop masters programs in orthotics and prosthetics.
According to a press release from Durbin's office:
Each institution receiving one of these grants will require students to rotate through facilities run by the Departments of Veterans Affairs or Defense, or that hold VA contracts. The bill also requires the VA to establish a Center of Excellence in Prosthetic and Orthotic Education to provide evidence-based research on the knowledge, skills and training clinical professionals need to care for veterans. Chicago would be a leading contender for that Center of Excellence.
The other -- the Wounded Warrior Research Enhancement Act of 2013 -- would support the research of artificial limbs so that doctors can better match patients with the prosthetic that best works for them. Many practitioners currently rely on personal experience and trial-and-error methods, his office explained.
"We're doing amazing, miraculous things, but for the continual pace, we've got to continue to bring men and women into the field who can be right on the edge of finding those new discoveries," he said at a morning press conference in the Center for Bionics Medicine Lab at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
It's estimated that roughly 1,700 American military men and women have lost limbs in Iraq or Afghanistan.