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Experts Address Bloggers' TBI Questions

army soldier
Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras

What should military spouses know about a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and where should they go for help? What’s the update on field testing of military headgear equipped with environmental sensors to record velocity, acceleration and impact in the study of blast concussion? What would you advise mid-level leaders about the importance of giving their troops time to seek rest after suffering a mild TBI?

 

Col. Jamie Grimes, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) director, and Ms. Kathy Helmick, DVBIC deputy director, addressed these questions and more as they explored TBI with callers during a bloggers roundtable DoDLive hosted last week. The roundtable offered an opportunity for bloggers to connect with Defense Department leaders and subject matter experts.

 

The DVBIC leaders touched on many issues related to TBI, from how the Defense Department has expanded care for wounded warriors with TBIs and research in TBI diagnosis and treatment to recovery tips for people who have sustained a head injury.

 

For the roundtable experience, listen to this audio podcast:

 

 
Download this podcast (MP3)

 

And, read these quick facts about TBI:  

  • A traumatic brain injury is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain
  • More than 80 percent of TBIs occur in a non-deployed setting when someone is involved in a motor vehicle crash or gets injured during a sporting or recreational event
  • The most common form of TBI is mild TBI, also known as concussion
  • Rest (physical and mental) is an important treatment for a mild TBI and is critical for preventing further injury
  • Early detection allows for early treatment. Early treatment maximizes the chances for recovery
  • Helpful TBI resources for service members, families and health care professionals are available at dvbic.org, brainlinemilitary.org, brainline.org or DCoE Outreach Center 24/7
  • In most cases, TBI can be prevented with proper education and awareness

For more information about TBI in the military, check out the DVBIC website.

 

March is Brain Injury Awareness month. Continue to follow the DCoE Blog, and the DCoE Facebook and Twitter pages for brain injury information and resources.


Comments (7)

  • Nick Vigil 20 Mar

    As a TBI survivor, my experience with TBI has been both personal and professional. For the last 20 or 30 years I have been exposed to TBI either as a concussion that resolved with time, dealt with as an inconvenience or a condition with a headache, dizziness, slight imbalance that would resolve in days, weeks months or subside within the year. The severe, such as an open head wound or closed head injury requiring specialist intervention usually dealt with stabilization, evacuation to ER facility. In 2005 I was assigned to a TBI evaluation team with support from our medical team/Tricare and MEDCOM resources. After evaluation to determine mild TBI, the soldier would  be started on treatment and referred to DBVIC staff. The DVBIC Staff provided education, assistance and follow up. I personally experience firsthand the difficulty of TBI awareness, disabilities and persistence of symptoms. Mild TBI although not long lasting, the immediate effects immediately affects decision making that interfere with job and family life. 2009 I sustained a severe TBI and learned the unawareness of TBI to the general public, and family. A key support element and victim was my family, especially my spouse. It was amazing how much I have learned in 4 yrs. Basically becoming accustom  to the frustration and change to my actions that was affected by  the TBI. Educating and providing communication to the Spouse is as important to the spouse as it is to the soldier. Although, my injury was not combat related I share common difficulties except the PTSD. The Spouse held the family together and maintained the family's wellness during field duty, TDY's/ PCS's and replaced their husband or wife during deployment. As unexpected TBI affects the Warrior, the Command  and the Mission, TBI effects on the home front is as unexpected, sudden, and confusing. Now a life time commitment for healing done without awareness or support makes the healing or acceptability much more difficult for both the Warrior and Family. The military spouse should be given support alongside what the soldier receives , hopefully also to include the VA assistance.

  • Harry Gonzalez 20 Mar

    Wow, must be the most ignorant comment I have ever read about TBIs. In most cases, TBI can be prevented with proper education and awareness---simply unbelievable. I find this to be extremely insensitive and myopic, but again, it is coming from an expert. As a person who is living with the aftermath of three TBIs sustained in Iraq, I am trying to figure out where I missed the education and awareness training of dodging rockets. What a bunch of horse manure. No wonder I have not been helped...
    Hg
  • DCoE Blog Editor 21 Mar

    @Nick, You bring up some very important points – family members do play a critical role in the recovery of those with TBI. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and insight with us.

  • DCoE Blog Editor 21 Mar

    @Harry, Thanks for your comment.  Of course, this isn’t always the case. This relates to the more than 80 percent of TBIs that occur in a non-deployed setting such as sporting or recreational events, motor vehicle crashes, falls, etc. – maybe someone didn’t buckle their seatbelt or didn’t wear a helmet while engaging in some form of extreme sport. Knowing what simple precautions we can take can help us and others reduce the chances of being seriously injured. See tips listed for minimizing the risk of sustaining a TBI at home on the DVBIC website at http://www.dvbic.org/traumatic-brain-injury-tbi-awareness-and-prevention. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a helpful page on its website about TBI prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/prevention.html.

  • John 23 Mar

    I was wondering if I could have had or have TBI as in nam I would stand and I could watch firing our four and five inch guns. I could feel the blast on my face. We did heavy firing, in 1965 and 1966...
  • DCoE Blog Editor 25 Mar

    @John, The best thing for you to do is talk to your medical provider. You can also contact DVBIC at 800-870-9244, or use the contact us page on its website at http://www.dvbic.org/contact to request information.

  • Mike 25 Mar

    For our friends whose spouses suffer from TBI and PTSD, we've found that many of them have responded well to therapy groups for veterans with PTSD. The spouse is able to vent to fellow veterans who are going through the same emotions and feelings, and their partners are better able to understand what they are going through. Many people with TBI can feel alienated at times and frustrated by their symptoms, but the group therapy has proved to be very effective and therapeutic. 

    Mike

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