From One Military Family to Another: Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe this Summer
Posted by Lt. Cmdr. Cathleen Davies, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center on Sept. 22, 2015
In the warmer months, I love getting outside and being active with my son. As a 6-year-old, he knows how to bike, swim and generally run around — and he loves it! As his mom and clinical training and education chief at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), I know it is important to keep him safe, and prevent brain injury.It’s vital to know that kids can be at risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially in the summer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls account for 55 percent of TBI in children. They can happen at the pool, on the playground, on the road or just playing outside. Almost 26,000 children and adolescents are treated in emergency departments for TBI caused by bicycle-related injuries every year.Through DVBIC’s new initiative, A Head for the Future, we are raising awareness of noncombat-related brain injury in the military community and educating military families on how to prevent TBI.Here are a few simple tips to keep you and your kids safe while enjoying an active summer:Wear your helmets— every time — while biking, skateboarding or rollerblading.Be safe when behind the wheel:Always make sure your kids are wearing their seat belts (and you buckle up as well). Never seat small children in the front passenger seat. Visit www.safercar.gov to find your local child car seat inspection station, where you can ensure that car seats are installed correctly. And remember, never drive distracted.Always be careful on slick surfaces:Falls are common while enjoying time on the water or by the pool.Practice safe diving:Dive in open, high-visibility areas where water is at least six feet deep to protect your head and spine.A Head for the Future offers more tips for service members, veterans and their families to protect their heads in daily activities. Follow DVBIC's page on Facebook for updates about the initiative.
Q&A: How a TBI Champion Talks with His Children About Brain Injury
Posted by Robyn Mincher, DVBIC Public Affairs on June 19, 2015
As a veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during military training, Ed Rasmussen understands how it affects him and others. At home, he makes sure his kids know what TBI is, and how it may impact his behavior.Ed will share his story in an upcoming “TBI champion” video series for A Head for the Future, a TBI awareness and prevention initiative of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). TBI champions are members of the military community who have experienced brain injury in noncombat settings — such as in motor vehicle collisions or training incidents — and who are sharing their inspiring stories of recovery and hope with the military community.Below, Ed describes how he helps his children understand brain injury and what people should knowWhen did you first start talking to your children about your brain injury?I have twin daughters who are almost 10 years old. I didn’t begin talking to them about TBI until I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. After I was diagnosed at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence and was educated about TBI, I felt I could talk to them about it. We used to run around every day after they got home from school, but I stopped being able to do that with them because of headaches. I said to them, “I want to do this with you, but I can’t at this point because of my injury.” I let them know I may need to rest more because of headaches or bad moods. I told them not to blame themselves for any changes, and not to think, “Dad doesn’t like me because we spend less time playing together.”How did you explain what a TBI is?I explained to them that because of being around explosions during training, my brain wasn’t working properly. I told them it was like having a bruise on my brain — just like a bruise on the body — but that this kind of bruise can take a long time to heal, or sometimes may not heal at all. The areas of the brain that are bruised may “fall asleep” and treatment can help wake them up. My daughters know I go to physical therapy and other appointments. I said that therapy will help me get better, to be a better father and person.As an advocate, what do you want the military community to know about TBI?Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms and if you think you have sustained a TBI, get help. Knowing that I had a TBI was the biggest thing that helped with my recovery process. When I talk with others in the military community, I tell them, “Hey, this is my injury, and this could easily happen to you.” There was no single or sudden moment when I started having headaches — I dealt with the symptoms, such as memory loss and mood changes, over time. If you’re not the same person you used to be, go and talk to somebody. Seeking help doesn’t make you a weaker person.Connect with your family this Father’s Day. Download the DVBIC booklet, “Talking With Children About TBI” to help you start a conversation with your family. Visit Military Kids Connect to access resources to
Posted by Robyn Mincher, DVBIC Public Affairs on March 23, 2015
A Head for the Future, a public awareness initiative from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), aims to change the way you think about traumatic brain injury (TBI).While you might believe that TBI in the military mainly happens in combat, A Head for the Future addresses the fact that most are diagnosed in nondeployed settings. Through the launch of a redesigned website, the initiative highlights the signs, symptoms and treatment of TBI. A Head for the Future also serves to educate service members and veterans — as well as their families, line leaders, health care providers and caregivers — about the significance of preventing brain injuries that can result from incidents like motorcycle and bicycle collisions, sports-related accidents, altercations and falls.A Head for the Future provides information to help you prevent and recognize concussion — the most common form of TBI in the military.Getting your “bell rung” is a common reference, but understanding TBI symptoms and the need to seek help quickly is important to your health. Sometimes, those in the military community may go weeks, months or even years without seeking help, which can lead to prolonged recovery or long-term challenges. A Head for the Future is designed to give you the facts about TBI and guide you to the help you may need.Print and electronic materials are coming soon — including fact sheets, advertisements, posters and tool kits — as well as social media campaigns through the DVBIC Facebook page. We’ll also feature compelling videos of those on their path to recovery.Visit dvbic.dcoe.mil/aheadforthefuture to learn how the military community has the power to recognize, prevent and recover from TBI.To learn more about the campaign read the full press release.