The Defense Department estimates that more than 270,000 U.S. service members have suffered a traumatic brain injury since 2000. The Veterans Administration offers programs for them, but one local vet is now also reaching out to help his fellow soldiers.
Marine Veteran Charlie Gibbons is in a support group due to a brain injury, not related to his service. That's where he realized he may have special knowledge that could help vets and their families.
He explains, "they said their son was being aggressive when they were trying to give him his shots and medicines and nobody could undersatnd why. And I just brought up it might be just reflexes from being trained in the military."
He went to Lisa Cullen at the Center for Independent Living of South Central Pa., with a proposal---a support group for veterans who've had a traumatic brain injury.
She's been running a TBI support group for two-and-a-half years and she believes there's a need to offer a special outreach to veterans and their famillies.
Cullen says, "they're actually finding out that blast concussions and other forms of brain injury are being associated and directly linked with PTSD, so it's almost like a one-two punch in some cases."
The Veterans Brain Injury Peer Support Group will hold its first meeting Thursday, September 17 at 1;30 p.m. at the Center for Independent Living, at 1019 Logan Boulevard in Altoona.
For more information, contact Charlie Gibbons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-515-4624 or Lisa Cullen at LCullen@cilscpa.org or 1-800-237-9009