As Regional Education Coordinator of the Fort Bragg Intrepid Spirit Center, a Womack Army Medical Center facility, Bernetta Wiggins wanted to create an event to familiarize Fort Bragg and surrounding communities with the center’s work involving traumatic brain injury patients. So, Wiggins originated the idea of an open house, held March 10, at ISC. The event also helps recognize Brain Injury Awareness Month, she said.
The open house provided information about available services relating to TBI, better known as a concussion, and drew support from entities such as MoreLife, an initiative that provides outdoor adventure therapy to veterans and from Resiliency through Art, a Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program that helps active-duty service members, veterans and military Family members cope with stress through art.
ISC is an ideal facility because it provides a centralized place for treatment of mild TBI, from the onset of the injury to the patient’s discharge plan, said Amy Cecchini, research associate, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, which is focused on clinical care, education and research of TBI.
Robert Carlson agreed.
The facility allows professionals to treat a higher number of patients at a time, in one place, as opposed to being dispersed at different locations without optimal treatment space, explained Carlson, WAMC physical therapist.
“It also allows us to get a lot of equipment we wanted for a long time,” he said. That equipment includes Neurocom and Propio 5000, both machines that help to strengthen the balance of persons who struggle with vertigo, dizziness and stability.
The care is individualized and addresses those things that can stem from an untreated concussion like alcohol ideations and sleep disturbances, said Wiggins. Other symptoms of TBI are headaches, nausea/vomiting, fatigue and light sensitivity, as well as slowed thinking, memory problems and poor concentration. Emotional side effects are anxiety, depression, irritability and mood swings.
The center helps to deal with the physical, cognitive and emotional impact of TBI.
“Our goal is to always return Soldiers to their units and have them become fully embedded back within what their leaders need them to be able to do in order to support their unit mission,” Cecchini said.
The center also provides transitional care if the Soldier is going to another post, Wiggins explained.
Located at 3908 Longstreet Rd., the Fort Bragg ISC opened in January 2016 for the treatment of patients with mild traumatic brain injury, chronic pain and psychological health conditions.
It is open to active-duty service members, and to Family members and retirees on a space-available basis, said Wiggins.
For more information about its services, visit http://dvbic.dcoe.mil/location/fort-bragg-nc or call 907-7777.