By GUIDON staffMay 29, 2014
Leading Army Traumatic Brain Injury specialists are coming to Fort Leonard Wood for a TBI symposium June 5.
Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. In 2010, 2.5 million TBIs occurred either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries, according to the Center for Disease Control.
A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.
The severity of a TBI may range from mild -- a brief change in mental status or consciousness, to severe -- an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.
The installation's military and civilian workforce, Family members and retirees are invited to attend the TBI symposium scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at Nutter Field House.
Panel presentations, each followed by a question and answer period, are intended to provide a better definition and understanding of the causes, symptoms, and impacts of mild TBI.
Sharing techniques and procedures for identifying potential head injuries, how to address and treat these injuries, and methods and practices for protection and prevention are specific goals of the event.
"People don't know that a concussion is the same as a TBI," said Dr. Tom Van Dillen, neuropsychologist at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.
Symptoms of TBI can include reduced attention and concentration, and difficulty with memory and problem solving, which can exacerbate issues effecting mood and relationships, and impact job performance.
"Reduced efficiency is the hallmark, number-one symptom of TBI," Dillen said.
Army subject matter experts will discuss their specialty work in ongoing Army studies and efforts; Army assessment methods, approach and treatment; helmet technology to prevent and detect head trauma; and impairment study data associated with measured blasts.
Presenters will spend the afternoon visiting high-impact training areas here as they continue TBI discussion.
Both the Army and the NFL work to research causes, treatment and prevention methods as well as increase knowledge and awareness of TBI. In late 2012, Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Ray Odierno and NFL Commissioner, Rodger Goodell, signed a letter of agreement to share knowledge and resources.
Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, spearheaded this symposium after a previous encounter with an NFL representative and their discussion of mutual TBI interests.
Dillen, along with, the Army's TBI program manager, Dr. Stephanie Maxfield-Panker, from the Office of the Army Surgeon General; Head Protection Lead, Donald R. Lee II, from the Warfighter Directorate at Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center; and Dr. Gary Southwell from the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Dr. Tom Buckley, representing the Georgia Southern University athletic department; and Capt. Matthew LoPresti, a research psychologist at Fort Leonard Wood, are scheduled to form the symposium's panel of speakers.
(Editor's note: John Brooks, Marketing and Public Affairs officer at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, contributed to this story.)