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

Caregivers share their stories of support for TBI recovery

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 Toolkit | Warrior Care Toolkit | Warrior Care Toolkit | Traumatic Brain Injury | Warrior Care Toolkit

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...

PRA Training Video 2: Six Major Changes

Video
7/22/2021
Thumbnail image of PRA Training Video 2, Six Major Changes

In this lesson we review the six major changes in the TBICoE's revised 2021 Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Clinical Recommendation that differ from the original recommendation. The changes reflect the latest TBI research, and will make it easier for providers to manage the recovery process and return service members with concussion to full duty as quickly and safely as possible. Each video in the PRA training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Provider Education | Traumatic Brain Injury

PRA Training Video 3: Understanding Relative Rest

Video
7/22/2021
Thumbnail image for PRA Training video 3, understanding relative rest

In this lesson we explain the differences between complete rest and relative rest in a staged concussion recovery process, and provide examples of activities that promote relative rest. The revised Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Clinical Recommendation uses the term 'relative rest' to emphasize the importance of early introduction of physical and cognitive activities that do not provoke symptoms following TBI. Each video in the PRA training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Provider Education | Traumatic Brain Injury

PRA Training Video 1: PRA Overview

Video
7/22/2021
Thumbnail image of PRA training video 1, PRA overview.

In the first of TBICoE's Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) video training series, you will learn about the reasons for using a progressive return to activity process and receive an overview of the 2021 PRA algorithm and its associated tools. By the end of lesson one, providers will better understand the PRA process, and explain that process to service members diagnosed with concussion. Each video in the PRA training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Provider Education | Traumatic Brain Injury

PRA Training Video 4: PRA Progression Criteria

Video
7/22/2021
Thumbnail image for PRA Training video 4, PRA progression criteria

In this lesson, we review the criteria for advancing through the stages of the Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Clinical Recommendation. Each video in the PRA training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Provider Education | Traumatic Brain Injury

PRA Training Video 5: The Six Stages of the PRA

Video
7/22/2021
Thumbnail image for PRA training video 5, the six stages of the PRA

In this lesson, we cover the key activity objectives for each of the six stages of the Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Clinical Recommendation and provide activity examples for each stage. Each stage is designed to gradually increase the intensity and duration of a service member's physical and cognitive activity as they advance in the PRA process. Each video in the PRA training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Provider Education | Traumatic Brain Injury

PRA Training Video 6: The Return to Duty Screening

Video
7/22/2021
Thumbnail image of PRA training video 6, the return to duty screening

In this lesson, we cover how to perform the Return to Duty, or RTD screening, which now includes both vestibular/physical and neurocognitive examinations. The purpose of the RTD screening is to objectively measure whether a service member is ready for return to full duty. Each video in the Progressive Return to Activity training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Provider Education | Traumatic Brain Injury

PRA Training Video 7: Symptom-Guided Management and Specialty Referral Guidance Tables

Video
7/22/2021
Thumbnail image of PRA training video 7, the symptom-guided management and specialty referral guidance tables.

This lesson covers how to use the Progressive Return to Activity, or PRA's Symptom-Guided Management and Specialty Referral Guidance tables. This lesson also details primary care management strategies for service members who are not progressing as expected in the PRA. Each video in the Progressive Return to Activity training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Provider Education | Traumatic Brain Injury

PRA Training Video 8: Clinical Case Scenario

Video
7/22/2021
Thumbnail image of PRA training video 8, clinical case scenario.

This is an interactive clinical case scenario to test your understanding in applying the Progressive Return to Activity (PRA). We hope this will help medical providers become more familiar with the PRA process when treating service members with concussion. Each video in the PRA training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Provider Education | Traumatic Brain Injury

MHS Minute March 2021

Video
4/1/2021
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

March marked Brain Injury Awareness month in the military. We're spotlighting efforts across the MHS to combat Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and better understand how TBI impacts our Service members. For more information about the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), go to walterreed.tricare.mil/NICoE For more info on the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence (TBICoE), go to Health.mil/TBICoE

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness

Video
3/8/2021
DHA Seal

A TBI is a blow or jolt to the brain that can be life-altering if the symptoms are not recognized. If you or a loved one experience the symptoms mentioned in this video, speak to a health care professional for more information.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Month | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit

Progressive Return to Activity After Concussion Video

Video
2/25/2021
DHA Seal

The PRA is an evidence-based, easy-to-use approach to help providers return service members with mild TBIs back to duty safely. TBICoE researchers have found that, if medical providers completed a two-hour, in-person training on the use of the PRA, their patients saw an overall reduction in symptoms after one week, one month, and three months, when compared to patients treated by providers who had not received the training.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Month | TBI Resources | TBI Screening

Sleep and TBI

Video
2/8/2021
DHA Seal

Sleep disturbances are common for service members and veterans following a mild TBI, also known as concussion.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Total Force Fitness

MHS Minute: November 2020

Video
11/27/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

During Warrior Care Month, we reflect on the strength and resilience of our nation's wounded, ill, and injured service members, and recognize the caregivers who support their recovery and rehabilitation.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care Toolkit | Heroes Behind the Mask | Warrior Care

TBI Champions Roxana Delgado & Victor Medina

Video
11/17/2020
TBI Champions Roxana Delgado & Victor Medina

While he was deployed, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Victor Medina was in a vehicle that was hit by an explosive device. He sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that severely impaired some of his physical functions and ability to speak. Medina’s wife, Roxana Delgado, continued her pursuit of a Ph.D. in health sciences and became his caregiver. As they adjusted to a life neither one of them had imagined, their marriage became a new kind of partnership.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | A Head for the Future | Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI Champion Gary Moran

Video
11/17/2020
TBI Champion Gary Moran

SGM Gary D. Moran shares his TBI recovery story, and tips for talking to kids about TBI.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | A Head for the Future | Patient and Family Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

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.