Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month
March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. A Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI occurs when something outside the body hits the head with significant force. Because numerous combat Veterans are being diagnosed with TBI every day, VA medical centers like Truman VA work diligently to help Veterans by providing supportive services and rehabilitation opportunities.
Staff Sgt. Robert Tabers (retired) is one of many combat Veterans receiving care for TBI and other injuries at Truman VA. After sustaining multiple concussions in combat, Robert was diagnosed with TBI and PTSD in May 2009. As many Veterans are, he says that he was initially in denial about his diagnosis. His Primary Care Provider, Dr. Thomas Randall, helped Tabers understand the effects of his injuries and finally accept his diagnosis so that he could begin seeking appropriate care.
Headaches and balance issues are Robert’s chief complaints of TBI’s daily influence on his life. However, the most significant obstacle he lives with is the loss of most of his memories of the early years of his life. Almost all memories prior to his senior year in high school are gone. Other TBI patients experience a variety of other symptoms including loss of vision, fatigue, agitation, depression, and communication difficulties. Truman VA has helped Tabers by prescribing a combination of medications that treat his specific symptoms. The treatment staff has also encouraged him to exercise and meet regularly with his VA counselor to maximize his opportunities to live a happy, productive life.
Like most diseases and disorders, early detection and diagnosis are important in TBI’s and Robert recommends seeking help immediately if you or someone you know may have a TBI. More information on Traumatic Brain Injury and VA’s Polytrauma System of Care can be found here: http://www.polytrauma.va.gov/.