Today is the last day of March, which is also Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to http://www.dvbic.org/, there are several things about Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBIs, that you may not have realized, including:
- In prior conflicts, TBI was present in at least 14-20% of surviving combat casualties; preliminary information from the current conflict in the Middle East suggests that this number is now much higher.
- In peacetime, over 7,000 Americans with TBI are admitted to military and veterans hospitals each year.
- TBI is a major cause of life-long disability and death.
- Certain military assignments, such as airborne operations or policing in combat areas, carry above-average risk of TBI.
- Blast injuries are a growing cause of TBI in combat.
Service men and women have a much higher risk of experiencing TBIs, and their results can range from physical and cognitive challenges to behavioral, emotional, and social challenges. Many service members leaving the military and returning to the classroom may experience symptoms that may not be immediately detectable, but may hinder the learning process nonetheless. It is important that faculty understand the issues their veteran students face while trying to learn, as well as the fact that veterans do not want to be treated any differently than their fellow students.
In 2010, The Aurora Foundation partnered with Wounded Warrior to give a grant to Virginia Commonwealth University; this grant helped to train faculty and other volunteers in understanding the unique issues faced by student veterans. Through this grant, VCU has been able to restructure several systems within their school to make the campus more veteran-friendly, and therefore decrease chances that student veterans will want to drop out of school. They have also established “Green Zones,” or places where veterans can go and congregate, specifically experiencing a sense of bonding as they may share similar experiences.