Edmonds Military Wire: How to recognize traumatic brain injury


My Edmonds News introduces Edmonds resident Michael Schindler, a Navy veteran and president of Operation Military Family, whose weekly column will focus on information for local veterans and their families.

By Michael Schindler

Most, if not all, of us either know of someone who has experienced some form of combat trauma or has read the stories of service members struggling to recover. While some trauma is psychological – more along the lines of post- traumatic stress disorder – other trauma is brought on through external forces, like traumatic brain injury or TBI.

Several reports have suggested that close to a third of our returning service members suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury and that the recovery from TBI can take months, if not years. Getting help or even recognizing one needs help sometimes takes a push. The military isn’t sitting on their hands on this one — they have stepped up and are taking this issue seriously.

Established in November 2007, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury assesses, validates, oversees and facilitates prevention, resilience, identification, treatment, outreach, rehabilitation and reintegration programs for psychological health and traumatic brain injury. The goal is to ensure the Department of Defense meets the needs of the nation’s military communities, warriors and families.

The newly launched Real Warriors Campaign combats the stigma associated with seeking psychological health care and treatment and encourages service members to increase their awareness and use of the resources. As part of its continued effort to combat stigma and provide services, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center recently launched three public service announcements to encourage service members to get a medical check-up quickly if they have suffered a blow or jolt to the head which could lead to a concussion, also known as mild traumatic brain injury.

The following are symptoms often associated with someone who has sustained a concussion:  trouble sleeping, irritability, memory problems, blurred vision and headaches.

For more information, visit the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center and the Real Warriors Campaign website.

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

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