FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2011) -- They look at the board planning out how best to take the route. There are only four of them. They know there will be enemy on the road and obstacles to encounter. They work out buddy teams and how they will react, who will be security, who will be aid and litter.
It looks like training all Soldier go through with evaluators standing by, but this isn't a group of Soldiers who are training to deploy together. These Soldiers have been going through months, if not close to a year of rehabilitation with the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at Fort Campbell. They are taking part in the final stage of the Military Functional Assessment Program and their evaluators are many of the therapists they have been working with during their recovery.
"It's a multidisciplinary approach," said Sgt. Jeremy Cole, a medic assigned to the Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, clinic to act like a liaison between the therapists and doctors and the military. "We take all the information, look at the Soldier as a whole and based on the information say this is what should happen next."
For some, the next step can mean more therapy in specific areas, it can mean returning to their units and for some, it is a way to finish out the program before leaving the Army.
For Spc. Brad Vineyard, petroleum supply specialist with the 541st Transportation Company, 106th Transportation Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, who was injured in an improvised explosive device blast in Afghanistan, he took part in the week-long event just to finish out the program and see what he could do before transitioning out of the Army.
"The one thing that was hardest for me was the rollover training," said Vineyard. "It really brought back some issues. It was the first time I've ever truly had a vivid flash back because they put me in the gunner's seat and that last time I was in the gunner's seat was when I was in the IED blast. That was really hard for me. The rest of it, I loved it."
The Soldiers spend a week going through training from land navigation course, a ropes course, virtual shooting scenarios and more. It allows the medical team to see outside of a clinical environment just how well a Soldier's rehabilitation is going.
"Every time you come through here it is the same," said Cole. "What that does is help create some reliability for the testing aspect. We do the same tests, the same procedures and then we see how that correlates with all the different classes we have them go through. That gives us good ideas of our success rate, what programs are working and what things they need to train on more specifically in their own training sessions."
The training Fort Campbell is doing is looked highly upon by the rest of the Army and military. Personnel from the Army Surgeon General's Office have come to visit and see this capstone program in action. Doctors and therapists from other installations come to see the program and sometimes patients from other posts are even sent here to take part in the week long program.
"The TBI clinic has really been on the cutting edge of a lot of the treatment aspects," said Cole. "It's been really beneficial and actually Fort Campbell is the only, really the only place that has a program to this magnitude."
The TBI Clinic has also put together a video assessment program that is being sent to help troops in Afghanistan. They also conduct video-teleconferences with doctors and therapists around the world.
As the military liaison, Cole enjoys seeing the Soldiers come through the TBI Clinic and make it to this point. He has been deployed three times and says it is good to see this aspect of what happens to a Soldier who is injured.
"You see people injured and you don't always know what happens after they come home, after long-term care," said Cole. "It's been nice for me to see this end of the spectrum, how they went from theater to now how they are rehabilitating. These guys aren't just being left on the battlefield. They do have long-term treatment to really identify and treat the injuries."