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BIA HOME : MICHIGAN : SUPPORT : VETERANS

Veteran’s Programs

Early in 2007, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan created a Veteran's Program to specifically help our combatants returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with the complex traumatic brain injury issues. Called the “invisible wound” because a very serious injury can be sustained without visible indicators, TBI has been named the “Signature Wound” of the War on Terror.  

Brain injury awareness presentations are made to returning soldiers and their families at post deployment health assessment workshops.  We believe the most important part of our message is that these wounds are “Invisible” and “Treatable”. No brain injury is too small to ignore or too severe to lose hope.

Signature Wound

 Veterans returning from combat may have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by 

  • Improvised Explosive Devices - IEDs
  • Mortars
  • Vehicle Crashes
  • Grenades
  • Bullets
  • Mines
  • Falls

Shock wave blasts from improvised explosive devices, rocket propelled grenades and land mines are the leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in combat zones. Reports indicate that up to 20 percent of returning veterans exhibit symptoms of having sustained traumatic brain injury.

 

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."  

                           -  President George Washington

 
Estimates point toward as many as 320,000 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) eventually sustain traumatic brain injury. However, it is not only recently returning vets who are living with brain injury. Many veterans of past conflicts are living with the effects of undiagnosed brain injuries, not realizing that avenues exist for them and their families to find answers.

It is difficult to return home from an intensive combat environment. It takes a lot of understanding and patience on the home front as our troops adjust back to their previous lives. In many cases, they may never be completely the same. It is even tougher for those that have sustained a TBI during their combat tour, especially if they do not seek diagnosis and treatment.   It is critical that the family members, close friends and co-workers of troops returning from combat understand and watch for TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

TBI Symptoms may include
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Memory Loss
  • Emotional (more or less)
  • Mood Changes
  • Nervousness
  • Vomiting
  • Balance Problems
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue or Drowsiness
  • Sleep (more or less)
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Sensitivity to Light
  • Numbness / Tingling
  • Sensitivity to Noise
  • Dazed or Stunned
  • Forget Recent Conversations
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Difficulty Making Decisions
  • Respond to Questions Slowly
  • Ringing in the Ears
  • Mentally Foggy
  • Feeling Slowed Down

Click here to download the Resources for Veterans brochure.

Medical systems throughout the U.S., especially Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VA), are seeing an increase in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan.

Most people who sustain a TBI will experience temporary or permanent physical, cognitive, or emotional changes. The VA is helping polytrauma survivors reintegrate into civilian life through a newly created polytrauma system of care. Centered in four Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (Minneapolis, Palo Alto, Richmond, and Tampa) and spread across the U.S. through specially designated VA hospitals, the system of care addresses patients' complex medical, psychological, and rehabilitation needs, with a special emphasis on brain injury. Specialized services include inpatient and outpatient medical and rehabilitation care, and proactive, long-term case management. Service can also include long-term care for those who cannot return home because of the severity of their injuries.

The Brain Injury Association of Michigan's goal is to provide answers and avenues of support for all Michigan residents living with brain injury. If you are a veteran who has or believes you have a brain injury, or if you are the loved one of a veteran with similar concerns, the Association encourages you to contact us at 800-772-4323 or 810-229-5880.

You are not alone.

For all Veteran-related events - click here.

2013 Veterans & Service Members Pheasant Hunts 

The Brain Injury Association of Michigan Veterans Program and the Michigan Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America are proud to announce that the Safari Club International’s Lansing and Flint Chapters, the South East Michigan Bow Hunters Chapters, along with the Pheasants Forever Ingham & Livingston County Chapters, the hunting clubs listed below, and numerous other sponsors and donors, are all joining forces to host free Veteran & Military Service Members “Pheasant Hunts” across Michigan!

2013 Dates have yet to be determined.

To Register: All Veterans from all branches of service, active, guard and reserve are invited to participate. Injured and Veterans with disabled status receive preferential consideration if the field is full, other combat Veterans, and then all other Veterans are encouraged to register on a space available basis. E-mail Rick Briggs  your name, rank, home address, phone, e-mail, whether OIF/OEF, number of tours, and if you are a Purple Heart or disabled Veteran status.

All individuals will receive notification on whether they were selected to participate two weeks prior to each event. Contact Lynn Marla of the Lansing SCI with questions at (517) 599-7722 or marlal4323@broadstripe.net.

Additional Resources

State of Michigan - Veteran Hot-line
You can reach the State of Michigan's Veteran Hotline at (800) 455-5228.  Click here for Veteran Information provided by the State of Michigan.

Returning from the War Zone

The Returning from the War Zone, A Guide for Military Personnel is a guide is for service members returning from deployment. It contains information to help military personnel understand what to expect when returning from a war zone, and to help them to better adapt back to home life. Reintegration is an adjustment for all involved. This information aims to make this process as smooth as possible and covers:

  • A description of the common reactions that occur following deployment to a war zone.
  • Information about possible problems to watch out for, including PTSD
  • How expectations about homecoming may not be the same for service members and family members
  • The effects that war zone stress can have on your family and work life
  • What you can do to help yourself with readjustment
  • What help is available and what it involves

Remind.org

After sustaining a brain injury from a roadside bomb in Iraq, Bob Woodruff, journalist for ABC News, became committed to assisting injured service members and their families.

ReMIND.org is a program of the Bob Woodruff Foundation to educates the public about the needs of injured service members, veterans and their families as they reintegrate into their communities and empowers people everywhere to take action.

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center serves active duty military, their beneficiaries, and veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) through state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative clinical research initiatives and educational programs.  DVBIC collaborates with the military, VA and civilian health partners, local communities, families and individuals with TBI.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established on March 15, 1989, succeeding the Veterans Administration. It is responsible for providing federal benefits to veterans and their families. Headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, VA is the second largest of the 15 Cabinet departments and operates nationwide programs for health care, financial assistance and burial benefits. You can or view a fact sheet about the Department here.

Department of Defense Compensation and Benefits Handbook

The Department of Defense has developed a comprehensive handbook describing compensation and other benefits service members and their families would be entitled to upon separation or retirement as a result of serious injury or illness. The handbook was compiled in cooperation with the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and and the Social Security Administration. Additionally, there are references to assistance provided by other governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations.

Social Security Wounded Warrior -Disability Benefits

After a brain injury, there are often difficult decisions to make. Fortunately, there are many resources available to assist with the rehabilitation process.  Michigan has 18% of the nations total CARF accredited TBI neurocognitive rehabilitation facilities and over 2,500 certified brain injury specialists. Please ask for help.

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