CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina –
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC – Would you be able to recognize the symptoms of a brain injury in yourself, a friend or family member? With March as Brain Injury Awareness Month, Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune is highlighting the importance of recognizing and receiving proper treatment for brain injuries.
“Traumatic brain injuries are still a significant issue in the military even if we are no longer at war,” said U.S. Navy Captain Diana Fu, medical director at Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center. “Accidents and military training exercises continue to expose service members to traumatic brain injury.”
The 2022 Annual Report from the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence reports the total number of first-time TBIs sustained by service members since 2000 was 468,424. A large majority of reported TBIs can be mild cases that could pose long-term health issues if left untreated.
“Patients need to know to seek out assistance after an injury,” said Fu. “Early education and treatment are crucial in preventing the transition of acute TBIs into chronic TBIs…Simple measures such as brain rest or gradual return to activity may be needed in order to prevent long-term issues.”
Some of the effects of a brain injury are headaches, musculoskeletal pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, dizziness, visual disturbance, cognitive slowing, and exercise intolerance. If you or someone you know has experienced an injury to the head and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, seeking medical care immediately is wise.
In the case of a traumatic brain injury, or when symptoms have progressively worsened, long-term care may be needed. The Intrepid Spirit clinic aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune works with active-duty service members and TRICARE Prime veterans enrolled to NMCCL, if space is available, for patients suffering from TBIs.
“The brain controls every aspect of a person’s functions,” said Fu. “Typical symptoms are best treated simultaneously via a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach.”
The ISCRC, which partners with the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, is a holistic program focused on rehabilitating the patient’s function and reaching a level in which the patient can manage their symptoms and achieve a good quality of life.
“The center uses a multi-disciplinary approach using 12 subspecialties to help the patient and their families maximize treatment effectiveness,” adds Fu.
Art and music therapy, pain management, neurology, pastoral care, psychology and psychiatry are a few of the specialties the facility offers to patients. Families are encouraged and included as part of the healing process.
“The methods used by the [Intrepid Spirit Clinic] are responsible for a return to duty rate for active-duty service members of 85%,” said Fu.
The Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center will host an open house for military personnel on March 30, 2023 from 1-3 p.m. The event will feature tours of the facility, TBI-related resources, and a chance to meet the providers. For more information, visit https://camp-lejeune.tricare.mil/Health-Services?Specialty-Care/Intrpid-Spirit-Concussion-Recovery-Center