EGLIN AIR FORCE BSE, Fla. -- March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Brain Injury Awareness Month is important to the Eglin community because this area has a high population of active-duty service members and veterans, who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, according to Dr. Micah Price, head of the Intrepid Spirit Center’s behavioral medicine department here.
Both populations are historically at higher risk for brain injury due to the nature of their jobs, training exercises and deployments.
Brain Injury Awareness Month provides active-duty service members, veterans, their families, providers and others, the opportunity to learn about signs, symptoms and treatment options for TBIs. The month also crates the chance for eligible patrons to get acquainted with the ISC’s services, Price said.
According to The Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, a TBI is an injury resulting in the disruption of normal brain function caused by external force. External force may cause an open or closed head injury. A brain injury does not require the individual to experience a loss of consciousness. The individual might simply have a severe headache or “see stars.”
rice said individuals who experience brain injury may not know the changes in their behaviors, mood, and/or personality are related to the TBI. They may experience chronic pain, sleep and wake disorders, and other medical conditions occurring at the same time. This impacts both the military and civilian communities.
Price said if not treated, symptoms can lead to more extreme structural changes to the brain, which may result in physical, behavioral, and cognitive life-long disabilities.
The outcome depends greatly on the seriousness of the brain injury. One member with a less serious injury might experience only recurrent headaches where another with more serious injury might experience difficulties in recovering speech, lasting memory impairments, or the ability to walk normally.
A member should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible after the injury to begin concussion protocol, Price said. Expedient treatment can dramatically reduce the time for recovery and severity of the brain injury.
Price said the ISC supports the whole of the service member in the recovery process. Unlike traditional military medicine, the ISC utilizes a Four Pillar approach to care, with focus on the mental, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of the injury.
“This approach allows for a comprehensive evaluation and multi-disciplinary treatment, as every brain injury and members’ need is unique,” he said.
The ISC also utilizes novel integrative treatments that include art and music therapies, and acupuncture, as well as traditional healthcare services that include detailed medical and mental health treatment.
“Brain injuries should be taken seriously,” Price said. “Service members may report symptoms that may not make sense to those who have not experienced them. We encourage service members who experience TBIs to get treatment and return to duty, and to enjoy life after the military, in a balanced, healthy way.”
The following are the ISC’S Brain Injury Awareness Month March events. All events will be held at the Intrepid Service Center except where noted. All eligible patrons can attend. For more information, call 883-9484.
- Adventures in marriage – two sessions: March 10, 6 to 9 p.m. and March 11, 9 a.m. to noon; and March 31, 6 – 9 p.m. and April 1, 9 a.m. to noon. The interactive two-day workshops teach how to build a healthy, thriving marriage. The workshops are for couples at any age or stage of marriage.
- MIND Diet cooking class - March 15, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The hands-on cooking class teaches healthy food habits that improve cognition and brain health.
- Creative Arts Café – March 16, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event shares creativity in art, music, poetry and comedy.
- St. Patty’s Day 5K Fun Run/Walk – Track near the ISC, March 17, 7 a.m. Register at the ISC.
- Yoga and Tai Chi classes – March 17, 10 a.m. Call to reserve a spot.
- Open House Carnival - March 31, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meet the providers and learn about the center’s services. Community organizations will offer additional services for TBI symptoms to civilians.
- The ISC conducts tours of their building every Friday in March. Call to make an appointment.