Let’s talk about TBI: Military Health System initiative highlights prevention, recognition and tools for recovery from traumatic brain injury

With the start of summer right around the corner, there is a growing excitement for outdoor activities with friends and family. And while the military community is always on the go, the Defense Health Agency’s Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center’s (DVBIC) A Head for the Future campaign wants to remind everyone that as the weather gets warmer, it is important to recognize risks for brain injury while being active outside, playing sports, hiking and going to the beach.

Image of the Head for the Future Campaign which says "Be a Champion: Share your experience with brain injury and inspire others to get help"

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant health issue affecting both service members and veterans. According to DVBIC, medical diagnoses of TBI totaled 344,030 from 2000 to 2015, and the majority of those TBIs were diagnosed as a mild TBI, otherwise known as a concussion. Much attention has been paid to TBIs sustained while deployed, from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for example, many military TBIs actually occur in noncombat settings. For instance, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center reports that concussions and other forms of brain injuries in service members often occur in garrison, from motor vehicle collisions, recreational activities and training incidents. That is why the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury aims to educate military audiences on how to prevent brain injuries here at home with their prevention fact sheets found at: http://dvbic.dcoe.mil/aheadforthefuture/materials.  Whether on your bike or motorcycle, behind the wheel of your car or playing a game of pickup basketball, there are always measures you can take to keep your head safe.

In addition to TBI prevention tips, A Head for the Future wants to ensure that service members, veterans and their families know the signs and symptoms of TBI. DVBIC offers a list of physical and behavioral symptoms associated with a TBI and urges anyone who thinks they might have a TBI to get checked out by a medical professional. Brain injuries are treatable and recovery is possible.

For more information on how to prevent, recognize and recover from TBI, please visit the A Head for the Future website, as well as DVBIC’s website at: www.dvbic.dcoe.mil/.