In his session “Psychological Health Effects of Deployment” on the first day of the Trauma Spectrum Conference, Dr. Stephen Cozza, professor at the Uniformed Services University, showed a picture drawn by a five-year-old boy whose father had lost both lower extremities while serving in combat. The son’s drawing “of a person” reflected the challenges a young child faces when a parent is seriously injured. The boy started his drawing at the feet and drew progressive sections upward as he approached the head, at times leaving limbs disconnected. The boy struggled with connecting all the parts of the body, revealing his anxiety with his father’s injury and a desire to master the process of healing, as well as a sense of body integrity.
Dr. Cozza’s lecture at the conference was part of an all-encompassing, fundamental meeting to unveil and further research on polytrauma, recovery and reintegration of service members, veterans and their families. Day one of the conference covered a variety of topics surrounding polytrauma, including management of patients in theater and during transport, the impact of deployment on health care providers, comorbidities in spinal cord rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and burn rehabilitation.