National Brain Injury Awareness Month - March 2009

Tuesday March 3, 2009

What is it?

This March, in recognition of National Brain Injury Awareness Month, the Army will engage in a service-wide effort to educate our Army family about the diagnosis, treatment and care programs available for Soldiers and families affected by Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

TBI is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of such an injury may range from "mild" (concussion) to "severe"(an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury). Most traumatic brain injuries are mild and if treated promptly, result in full recovery with no long-term physical or mental effects.

What has the Army done?

The Army is at the leading edge of TBI research and treatment. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command has initiated a comprehensive blast injury research program. In full partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and civilian institutions ranging from major hospitals to the National Football League- the Army is committed to rapidly increasing our understanding of TBI-and improving our ability to diagnose, treat and care for those affected by it.

In addition, the Army has dramatically increased TBI training for our Combat Medics in theater - and for all our medical care professionals including Nurse Care managers, Physician Care managers and our specialists in the neurosciences. As a result of these efforts, for those affected by TBI - whether in a combat or garrison environment - the Army provides outstanding care to Soldiers and families affected by TBI.

What will the Army do?

We understand the nature of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan requires an urgent and ongoing response to TBI and the Army will continue to expand resources to diagnose and treat it.

During March, commands, installations and military treatment facilities will provide the latest information on TBI symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention to encourage Soldiers and family members to see their care provider for any TBI concerns.

Why is this important to the Army?

TBI is overwhelmingly treatable. However, seeking prompt medical care for TBI, regardless of severity, is key to returning to the highest functional level possible. Working together, Soldiers and family members affected by TBI can be confident they’ll receive the world’s finest treatment from our Army medical care community.

Resources:

U.S. Army Medical Department Web site

Defense Centers of Excellence Web site

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site

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Events

2009: Year of the NCO

2009: 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Army Office Chief of Chaplains

March 2009:

- National Women's History Month: Army Heritage and History Web site

- Brain Injury Awareness Month: U.S. Army Medical Department Web site

Feb 15- Mar. 15, 2009: Stand Down on Suicide Prevention

Mar. 16, 2009: Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program

SENIOR LEADERS ARE SAYING

"If someone has a concussion, we want them to be evaluated. It is very important that we protect them from getting another concussion before their brain heals."

- Lt. Col. Lynne Lowe, TBI program director in the Office of The Surgeon General of the Army, reasserting that seeking prompt medical care for traumatic brain injury, regardless of its severity, is key to recovery

Traumatic brain injury: Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

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