Last Sunday (May 5), 60 Minutes did a segment focused on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Since May is Military Appreciation Month AND Mental Health Month, I thought it would be fitting to feature a May post related to these two things. The Army’s theme for Mental Health Month is “Breaking the Silence.” Brain injuries are the signature wound of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, yet most people are not aware of the magnitude of these problems because they are invisible wounds. June is National PTSD Awareness Month, so I will focus on that in a few weeks. In March, I wrote a post summarizing TBI, but I wanted to delve a little deeper with this subject.
Below is the link to the 60 Minutes clip from CBS, and I encourage everyone to please watch this. It was quite eye-opening for me:
Here are some highlights from the video:
- The Pentagon didn’t recognize TBI as a major problem almost until the end of the Iraq war.
- Many soldiers who suffer with TBI are instead diagnosed with PTSD, and then great frustration ensues when no improvement is made from counseling. However, PTSD and TBI often are co-morbid, and since many of the symptoms overlap it can be difficult to distinguish which condition is causing which symptoms.
- A mild concussion (mTBI) can still cause serious injuries. So in other words, a concussion can have lasting effects, especially when one is piled on top of another one.
- Traditional brain scans of someone with a concussion can look the same as someone with a severe TBI in a coma. (See video for example.)
- 36% of disabling injuries are from TBI and PTSD, while amputations account for 10%.
- Arnold Fisher is a hero for our troops! Check out the National Intrepid Center for Excellence website below. They are also on Facebook.
- The advanced brain scanning technology at NICoE shows SO much more than traditional scans. 40-50% of soldiers who come to NICoE for treatment and can’t see anything unusual on traditional scans, can see their injuries on this advanced technology! They are finally getting answers and, as Major Richards in the video says, “It really lifts a burden.”
- There is no cure for TBI, but there are techniques on helping wounded warriors (and their families) to cope effectively.
- Mr. Fisher is raising $90 million to build 9 more NICoE centers at military installations. There is already one at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland.
- My favorite quote from Mr. Fisher: “We owe them.” When asked why is he doing this instead of the government, he responded, “We can build it in half the time, half the cost, and twice the quality.” What an amazing man! Thank you, Mr. Fisher, for your dedication. You are someone who TRULY embodies the slogan “Support Our Troops”!
For more resources, check out these links: