Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Caregivers share their stories of support for TBI recovery

Image of Group of people walking and on wheelchairs through the forest. Participants of the Air Force Special Operations Command Caregiver and Resilience Education summit walk the Gatlinburg trail in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in April 2019. (Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Lynette Rolen.)

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Warrior Care | Warrior Care | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Warrior Care

After her husband returned home from Iraq with a traumatic brain injury, Jasmin Blair immediately saw the signs of distress in him. Wally, her Marine husband, became increasingly irritable, which created difficulty for her and their family.

After recommending he seek help at the TBI clinic at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, she recognized the importance of family in his recovery. She now helps Wally by putting his phone and keys where he can find them in the morning, setting up a calendar so the entire family knows about upcoming medical appointments, and accompanies him to the TBI clinic so she can be a more informed caregiver.

“I don’t necessarily view myself as a caregiver. I view myself more as a spouse that just wants to help her husband lead a fulfilling life,” Jasmin Blair said. “It’s important to be an advocate for your service member to better help with their treatment plans. You need to go to whatever appointments you possibly can to make sure that information is being given to better help with their recovery process. Recovery is possible to help lead a normal life. You just have to make sure you’re looking for help in the places that will help you do it.”

When asked of his experience, Wally explained, “I received the Purple Heart as a result of the 2007 IED [improvised explosive device] strike. My wife and family deserve it more than anything, I mean, they’ve paid more of a price than I have.”

Jasmin Blair recounted her experiences as part of a video series produced by A Head For the Future, an educational initiative of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), the Defense Department’s TBI center of excellence. The center is a division of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate.

The “TBI Champions” video series honors service members and veterans who sought help when diagnosed with TBIs, chronicled some of the challenges caregivers face, and how caregivers can avoid burnout.

Marking November as National Family Caregivers Month, DVBIC continues to develop tools and resources for and about the quality of life of caregivers who treat service members diagnosed with TBI. It is actively collecting empirical data on caregivers as part of an ongoing congressionally mandated study. In recently released research, DVBIC developed the Traumatic Brain Injury Caregiver Quality of Life measurement tool. The tool assesses how caregivers feel about loss of self-identity, or whether they feel trapped or anxious or stressed. Developed with federal and academic partners, the tool has been shown to be a reliable and valid instrument for measuring quality of life. In the future, it could help identify caregivers who need rest from their responsibilities or who are at-risk for developing mental and physical health difficulties.

In another A Head For the Future video, former Army Sergeant Victor Medina and his wife, Roxana Delgado, discuss how becoming a TBI patient and caregiver transformed their relationship. Medina received a moderate TBI on his third deployment to Iraq when an explosive device hit his vehicle. Upon returning home, his mobility was severely affected, and his wife had to drive him everywhere and cut his food when he ate. After 18 months of rehabilitation, his condition improved. “We don’t define our life based on what exists but how we live. So twenty years from now, we’ll have two sets of memories, before and after the injury. They’re both gonna be beautiful,” Delgado said.

All of the initiative’s resources, including a compilation video called “Find Your Story,” are available on DVBIC’s website. DVBIC and the Department of Defense have resources available to help caregivers deal with their responsibilities and maintain their own health. “Caring for the caregiver allows for better care of our service members and veterans,” DVBIC program analyst Johanna Smith said. By promoting both better care and better health, caregivers ultimately contribute to improved readiness—all prominent goals of the Defense Health Agency.

You also may be interested in...

2000-2022 (Q1) DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Report
8/24/2022

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis from calendar year 2000 through the first quarter of 2022. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBICoE Research | TBI Educators

2022 (Q1) DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Report
8/24/2022

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis in the first quarter of calendar year 2022.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBICoE Research | TBI Educators

2021 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Report
8/18/2022

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis in 2021. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | TBI Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Longitudinal Study on Traumatic Brain Injury Incurred by Members of the Armed Forces in OIF/OEF

Report
5/4/2021

HR 5122 NDAA Conference Report for FY 2007 Sec. 721

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

DCOE Annual Report 2014

Report
7/16/2015

Annual Report for the Defense Center of Excellence - 2014

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Suicide Prevention | Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs Program Office | Health Readiness Support

Combat Trauma Lessons Learned from Military Operations of 2001 through 2013

Report
3/9/2015

Defense Health Board (DHB) report on Combat Trauma Lessons Learned from Military Operations of 2001-2013

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Management of Traumatic Brain Injury in Tactical Combat Casualty Care

Report
7/26/2012

Defense Health Board: Management of Traumatic Brain Injury in Tactical Combat Casualty Care

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness Support | | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Indications and Conditions for In-Theater Post-Injury Neurocognitive Assessment Tool (NCAT) Testing

Report
5/31/2011

In accordance with Section 1673 of the NDAA HR 4986, signed into law in January of 2008, the Secretary of Defense was instructed to establish a protocol for the pre-deployment assessment and documentation of the cognitive functioning of Service Members deployed outside the United States.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Disability Evaluation

Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Module 1

Report
4/1/2010

Defense Health Board: Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Module 1

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness Support | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Module 4

Report
4/1/2010

Defense Health Board: Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Module 4

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness Support | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Caregivers Companion

Report
4/1/2010

Defense Health Board: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Caregivers Companion

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Welome

Report
4/1/2010

Defense Health Board: Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Welcome

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness Support | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Module 3

Report
4/1/2010

Defense Health Board: Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Module 3

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness Support | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Module 2

Report
4/1/2010

Defense Health Board: Traumatic Brain Injury A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans Module 2

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness Support | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence
Showing results 1 - 14 Page 1 of 1
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 01, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.