• Marine Cyclist Recovers by ‘Following Doctor’s Advice’
    Posted by Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center on March 2, 2016
    In 2005, a car struck Marine reservist Maj. Eve Baker head-on while she was biking to work in Honolulu. She flew face-first into the windshield, shattering her helmet — which likely saved her life. Eve was immediately taken to the hospital and spent three days in intensive care.Eve was diagnosed with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). For about two weeks, she had retrograde amnesia: She couldn’t remember anything that occurred before the accident or in the two weeks after. Years later, she still can’t recall what happened in those initial weeks of recovery — except for one question.“I remember waking up … and my engagement ring was missing,” Eve said. “The nurses had put it in the vault for safekeeping. I’m pretty sure I said something like, ‘I’m a Marine; the safest place for that ring is on my finger,’ and they went and got it for me.”To make a full recovery, Eve knew that she had to listen to her doctor’s orders, taking six weeks off work to rest and sleep. She relied on her fiancé, a fellow Marine, for support and help moving around during her recovery.“I didn’t want to sleep by myself … so he would spend hours lying next to me in bed, reading a book, while I would sleep all day,” she said.Today, Eve and her husband are an active military family with two young children. She’s also back on a bike, always wearing protective gear and teaching her kids to do the same.“Helmets might be uncomfortable, and safety gear might be uncomfortable — or you might think it looks dorky — but it saves your life,” Eve said. “If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, I wouldn’t be here today.”To learn more about preventing and recovering from TBI, download TBI fact sheets from A Head for the Future. Watch more compelling stories of recovery and hope online.
  • National Salute to Veterans Week: Share Appreciation on Social Media
    Posted by Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center on Feb. 15, 2016
    In the eyes of our military community, a simple “thank you” goes a long way. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) kicks off their annual National Salute to Veteran Patients during the week of February 14, offering you an opportunity to honor our nation’s heroes. The week recognizes the more than 98,000 veterans of the U.S. armed services that are cared for every day in VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, residences and nursing homes. The goals of the program are to:Pay tribute and expresses appreciation to veteransIncrease community awareness of the role of VA medical centersEncourage citizens to visit hospitalized veteransAsk citizens to get involved as volunteersThis year, A Head for the Future has an innovative way you can thank our veterans: the Brain Injury Awareness month hashtag card campaign. More than 330,000 service members and veterans have experienced brain injuries in noncombat and combat settings since 2000 (hear some of their stories on our TBI Champions video page).Here’s how you can spread the word: Download the hashtag card (PDF), write a personal message about how you support the TBI military community, and share on social media in March for #BIAmonth.By helping us raise awareness of TBI, you may help us prevent future injuries.The Defense and Veteran Brain Injury Center’s (DVBIC) traumatic brain injury (TBI) initiative, A Head for the Future, promotes brain injury prevention, recognition and recovery resources for service members and veterans, many who are recovering or have received treatment in VA medical centers. March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. Through the month, VA medical centers nationwide are hosting activities and events for our veterans; contact your nearest VA or Vet Center and discover how you, your group or organization can salute those that served our country.
  • Veteran who sustained TBI helps fellow service members with brain injury care
    Posted by Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center on Dec. 8, 2015
    When he was 23, former Army Staff Sgt. Randy Gross was riding in a Jeep with his friends. The top was down and his seat belt was off.“We weren’t going very fast, so I wasn’t that concerned about it,” Randy said. But then the unexpected happened.“We hit this bump, and I hit the windshield. Putting that seatbelt on, it would’ve kept me from running into the windshield,” he said.Randy flew from the back seat and knocked his head on the windshield of the vehicle, sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This was not his first brain injury. Throughout his life, Randy was diagnosed with multiple TBIs from sports- and training-related events. His experience is familiar to many of those in the military community: The vast majority of military TBIs are diagnosed in nondeployed settings, and motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of the injury.  Randy made a full recovery and continued serving in the Army until 2006. After his accident, he vowed to always wear his seatbelt and take other precautions to avoid TBI. Now he urges others in the military community to do the same through his work at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC).Randy has been a DVBIC regional education coordinator since 2010. In his role, he connects with service members, veterans and their families who are coping with TBI, using his own experiences to relate to his patients and show them that recovery is possible. Randy regularly shares free DVBIC resources with them, like the Healthy Sleep fact sheet and a booklet with tips for talking with children about TBI.“One of the single most important things that I recommend to the TBI patients that I meet with is that this is the new you. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be completely different for the rest of your life; it just means that you’re going to have to do things a little bit differently,” Randy said. “It doesn’t change who we are, it just changes a little bit of our behaviors that we have to work with, that we have to cope with, on a daily basis sometimes.”To learn more about the TBI support available to service members and veterans, you can access DVBIC resources here. You can also meet with a regional education coordinator like Randy at regional DVBIC locations across the country and in Landstuhl, Germany. DVBIC offers a complete a list of DVBIC regional sites online.