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News | April 1, 2022

CRDAMC Intrepid Spirit Center keeps service members TBI Ready

By By Rodney Jackson

With March being Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness month, the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Intrepid Spirit Center is focused on keeping service members in the region TBI aware and helping those with injuries recover and transition back to military service or into civilian life.
The DOD's Comprehensive Strategy for Warfighter Brain Health optimizes brain health and combats TBI by addressing multiple concerns, such as potentially hazardous events that expose the brain to potential injuries, including impacts, blows, or jolts to the head that may result in long-term effects of TBIs.
TBIs can increase the risk for mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, as well as sleeping problems.
The effects of head injury, especially mild head injuries do not worsen over time, but if a person feels that their cognitive problems are getting worse two to three months after a mild head injury something else may now be responsible for that, commented Dr. John Dieter, neuro-psychologists, CRDAMC Intrepid Spirit Center.
“The sooner that the person pursues treatment when they are having these symptoms associated with head injury the better it is,” said Dieter. “The development of depression, which is not uncommon after a head injury, also poor sleep will seriously hinder cognitive function.”
Only about 17% of TBIs occur in a deployed setting. Most TBIs occur in non-deployed settings like training, sports, recreation, car accidents, or slips and falls.
You can limit your risk of experiencing a TBI by wearing proper safety equipment when training, deployed, or recreating.
“What we’ve learned about TBI is that there are multiple symptom clusters that service members present with,” said  Dr. Scot Engel, director of the Intrepid Spirit Center and clinical-psychologists. “They could have headaches, they could have anxiety, they could have vestibular balance issues, they could have chronic pain, and so we need to really be able to identify what particular symptoms are in play and then address those symptoms uniformly and simultaneously. Most people recover pretty quickly and may not require specialty care services at the ISC, which is important for the community to understand as well as our family members and beneficiaries.”S
Most people are going to be ok after a mild TBI, and get back to what they were doing in 10-15 days, but there’s a small percentage of folks that are going to need additional care and that’s where we come in, commented Engel.
 The CRDAMC Intrepid Spirit Center, part of a network of ISCs at high-density installations, has two levels of care. It has an outpatient clinic for local service member care and an intensive outpatient program that supports the Central Texas region and allows service members from all services to get help and continue with support as they transition to other areas. 
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