Brain injury symptoms need evaluation

| March 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

 

Photos by Ana Allen, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs HONOLULU — Spc. Cynthya Wilson, Behavioral Health technician, Tripler Army Medical Center, demonstrates the Drive Safely Driving Simulator, Monday, which is used to assess to assess visual-motor reaction time, divided attention, coordinated muscle movement and cognitive information processing.  Patients are notified that this is not a formal assessment of driving skills.

Photos by Ana Allen, Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs
HONOLULU — Spc. Cynthya Wilson, Behavioral Health technician, Tripler Army Medical Center, demonstrates the Drive Safely Driving Simulator, Monday, which is used to assess to assess visual-motor reaction time, divided attention, coordinated muscle movement and cognitive information processing. Patients are notified that this is not a formal assessment of driving skills.

Corretta Custis
Army News Service
FORT LEE, Va. — March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and many people may have a co-worker, battle buddy, friend, neighbor or spouse who is dealing with a brain injury.

They may have complaints of headaches, dizziness, irritability and tinnitus (ringing in the ear). You may notice that they are easily confused or distracted, have a hard time completing tasks and seem to be forgetful.

The definition of traumatic brain injury
A TBI, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, occurs when an individual has sustained a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.

It is not uncommon, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. Nearly 1.7 million people sustain a TBI every year in America.

While most people are able to return quickly to their daily lives, at least 125,000 people, yearly, are considered permanently disabled.

“Knowing the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury is key because TBI can happen to anyone whether it happens while playing sports, at work or just slipping on an icy sidewalk,” said Col. Richard Prior, deputy commander for nursing, Kenner Army Health Clinic in Fort Lee, Va. “The signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to, headache, confusion, dizziness or nausea.”

HONOLULU — Spc. Cynthya Wilson, Behavioral Health tech at TAMC, demonstrates the Dyna Vision 2000 that measures brain activity used to address a number of visual and physical deficiencies that include hand/eye coordination.

HONOLULU — Spc. Cynthya Wilson, Behavioral Health tech at TAMC, demonstrates the Dyna Vision 2000 that measures brain activity used to address a number of visual and physical deficiencies that include hand/eye coordination.

Injuries can range from “mild” to “severe,” with a majority of cases being concussions or mild TBI.

The military community has higher rates of concussions than its civilian counterparts, mostly due to specific job duties, deployments and physical requirements. For the military service member, blast exposures are the primary mechanism of injury.

When we look at children and teens, the main reasons for emergency department visits related to head injuries are bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball and soccer.

TBI can be prevented through precautions
You may wonder how to prevent concussions. Several simple steps help prevent concussions that include proper use of seat belts and properly fitted child safety seats while riding in a motor vehicle.

When participating in activities, such as bicycling, football, hockey, skates, skateboards, baseball, softball, horseback riding, skiing and snowboarding, be sure to wear a helmet.

 

What do I do if someone has a concussion?

If anyone suffers a concussion, he or she needs to be evaluated by a health care professional immediately after injury and may require ongoing evaluation and treatment.

The first line of resource for evaluation of possible TBI symptoms would be through your primary care manager. He or she will be able to further direct your care for possible TBI through use of local network specialty providers.

(Editor’s note: Custis is a registered nurse at Kenner Army Health Clinic, Fort Lee, Va.)

Online Support
For further information on concussions or traumatic brain injury, visit these sites:
www.cdc.gov., or
www.dvbic.org.
Listen to TRICARE Podcast #247 on National Nutrition Month and traumatic brain injuries at www.tricare.mil/Welcome/MediaCenter/Podcasts.aspx.

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