By Debbie Gregory.
Since 2000, more than 287,000 U.S. military personnel have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Reported injuries have occurred both in training and combat settings. According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), 83% of TBIs are considered mild TBIs (mTBI), which include concussions. With their high percentages of occurrence, mTBIs are the most common form of brain injury for military personnel.
The DVBIC, founded in 1992, is headquartered in Silver Spring, MD, and operates as part of the U.S. military health system. Their stated mission is to “serve active duty military, their beneficiaries, and Veterans with traumatic brain injuries through state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative clinical research initiatives and educational programs, and support for force health protection services.”
The original goal of the DVBIC was to “integrate specialized TBI care, research and education across military and Veteran medical care systems.” Today, the DVBIC is a network of 16 centers, which operate out of 11 military treatment facilities and five from VA poly-trauma facilities.
The DVBIC website also provides a free electronic library of educational materials that include research, medical publications and educational information about TBI and similar and related ailments. Service members and Veterans who have suffered through the effects of TBIs, as well as family members and healthcare providers who care for these heroes are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the information the site provides.
Back in January, the DVBIC released clinical recommendations for rehabilitating service members who have sustained mTBIs. The report is titled “Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/ Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Guidance for the Rehabilitation Provider in Deployed and Non-deployed Settings.”
Included in the report is general information about TBIs and mTBIs, case studies, learning objectives, a knowledge test with answers, and key points for rehabilitating TBIs. The information in the report is an attempt to standardize treatment for mTBIs in a way that is conducive to optimum recovery.
The recommendations provided in the report are intended for military and civilian health care professionals, but also offers service members, Veterans and family members an abundance of facts about TBI, as well as advice for how to rehabilitate brain injuries.