To the Editor:
March was National Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Media attention often focuses on head injuries and concussions in sports, particularly professional football. The special month presented an opportunity to also reflect on the nearly 500,000 returning veterans and military from Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer from the effects of traumatic brain injury.
TBI has been estimated in 20 percent to 25 percent of returning veterans with an estimated 30 percent having post traumatic stress. The mixed syndrome is often present, complicating the treatment program by requiring more hands-on therapy and fewer drug interventions.
Newer brain-imaging technology and recent studies have shown brain structure abnormalities in TBI as well as PTS. Brain injury also affects 2 million civilians in the United States, a number that continues to grow as veterans return from conflicts with this invisible injury.
The Resurrecting Lives Foundation assists with defining the brain pathology of our military members and veterans while developing protocols to assist with TBI recovery for the patient and the family. We can work together to reduce the TBI stigma and serious effects of TBI that often include substance abuse, homelessness, unemployment and even suicide.
The goal is to assist patients and families with TBI recovery, utilizing collaborative healing efforts between health-care providers, educators, community leaders and survivors. There's an urgent need of a more concerted effort of government, public and private partnerships to curb America's latest epidemic and bring hope and healing to those with brain injury nationwide.
Gary Johnson, COO