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Spearheading neurosurgery initiatives

For America's Warriors

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Inspired by US Army Green Berets, we at the Special Forces Neurosurgery Collaborative (SFNC) are driving the advancement of research in neurological injury for our nation’s warriors. Through partnerships between leading neurosurgery researchers and military organizations, we launch clinical research initiatives devoted to tackling brain and spine trauma.

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OUR Work

Brain and spine trauma remain a severe and enduring threat to the health of the force among US Army Special Forces Soldiers. These Soldiers sustain a striking 60% of all casualties among Special Operations Forces. This is due to the extraordinary challenges of the missions they perform in high-risk environments and using specialized tactics, techniques, and procedures. Core missions they conduct include unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct-action and counterterrorism. The nature of their missions impacts the type and extent of neurotrauma sustained on the most fundamental level.


To push the boundaries of our understanding of neurotrauma in this unique population, we have launched large-scale studies in collaboration with the Green Beret Foundation.


The demographics and ramifications of neurotrauma specifically among the US Army SF are poorly understood. We aim to better understand its incidence in SF, its mechanisms of acquisition, and how it can be prevented by addressing key issues pertaining to personal protective equipment and headgear use. Our primary studies focus on these two key areas:

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meet the team

For all inquiries, please use the contact us form below or email us at Please do not individually contact members of our team.

Deborah Benzil, MD

Vice Chair, Dept. of Neurosurgery

Cleveland Clinic




Director of Neurosurgical Oncology

Mount Sinai Hospital

REmi Kessler

Fourth Year Medical Student

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Jonathan Rasouli, MD


Cleveland Clinic

Raj Shrivastava, MD

Professor, Dept. of Neurosurgery

Mount Sinai Hospital


Jeremy Steinberger, MD

Director of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Mount Sinai West


Resident Neurosurgeon

Mayo Clinic

Brian hwang, md

Chief Neurosurgery Resident

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Ansh bhammar

Co-Founder, Co-CEO

ForagerOne, LLC

Military Advisors

Frances ARIAS

Director of Operations, 

Green Beret Foundation

Col. William J. Davis (ret)

US Army Special Forces

LT COl. Dennis Downey (ret)

US Army Special Forces



Traumatic Brain Injury in the US Army Special Forces

Publication Status:

Under Review

AANS Conference Abstract (2020):

Conclusions: Results demonstrate high incidence of TBI among US Army SF soldiers. Blasts/explosions were the leading cause of both mild and moderate/severe TBI. Given 80% of TBIs occurred while wearing headgear may be reflective of inadequate protective equipment. Low rate of Medevac rescue may suggest a sub-clinical presentation of TBI or that medical rescue was not attainable.

Read the full abstract here:

Spinal Cord Injury in the US Army Special Forces

CONCLUSIONS: A high number of SF soldiers self-reported an SCI diagnosis. Airborne operations landings were the leading cause of SCI, which coincided with warfare tactics employed during the Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and other conflicts. A majority of SCIs occurred while wearing headgear and no body armor, suggesting the need for improvements in protective equipment use and design. The low rate of medevac rescue for these injuries may suggest that medical rescue was not attainable at the time or that certain SCIs were deemed minor at the time of injury.


Read the publication here:

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OUR Partners

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Contact US:

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