Troops struggle to overcome traumatic brain injuries

Published On: May 22 2012 02:09:42 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 06 2012 03:29:55 PM EDT
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(NewsUSA) - Many of our troops returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are still facing a battle -- one against traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Thousands of injured service members and veterans are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with hopes of transitioning into successful civilian life.

For many of these individuals, gaps and barriers to health care, job training and employment, housing, recreation and transportation limit their ability to fully participate in family and community life. They are struggling, bound to a system that is itself stressed and often ill-equipped to meet their needs.

TBI is the signature wound of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Department of Defense figures cite that one in every nine American deployed soldiers to Iraq suffers a traumatic brain injury. TBI is caused by exposure to blast waves from explosive devices. Some of the tell-tale signs include: headaches, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, slowness in thinking and communicating, mood changes, ringing in the ears and other symptoms that can significantly disrupt relationships and undermine the potential for successful reintegration into civilian life.

Easter Seals has stepped up to offer help and hope for veterans with TBI. For nearly 90 years, they have been providing and advocating for services that change the lives of people living with disabilities and their families. Easter Seals is the nation's leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental and physical disabilities, mental health issues and other special needs.

With a generous grant from the Ludy Family Foundation, Easter Seals launched the Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Project. With additional funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Easter Seals is significantly enhancing outreach efforts and augmenting the existing program to reach veterans wherever they live.

The program offers returning veterans with TBI the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program -- an in-home, computer-based cognitive rehabilitation program -- and provides participants and their families with other essential Easter Seals supports and services.