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Public Affairs Office
CMR 442 APO AE 09042
U.S. Army Hospital – Nachrichten Kaserne
Postfach 103180 69021 Heidelberg, Germany
Contact Steve Davis 371-3317 Tel. 06221-17-3317
November 6, 2008
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    Warrior Care Month
    Traumatic Brain Injury diagnosis, treatment improves

    HEIDELBERG, Germany – Army medicine has made positive changes in the past three years in how Warriors are screened, diagnosed and treated for traumatic brain injuries, according to Army mental health experts.
    Those changes are as evident in Europe as they are anywhere else, according to both a victim of Traumatic Brain Injury and a leading Europe Regional Medical Command mental health expert.
    Staff Sgt. Chad A. Joiner, a military policeman from the 411th Military Police Company in Wiesbaden, Germany, has volunteered to share his experiences on American Forces Network in forums dealing with mental health issues.
    On a tour in 2005, he was in the gunner’s turret on a HMMWV when his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device. He lost consciousness, was treated for the blast injuries and was returned to duty.
    “When I redeployed I was evaluated and told that I had a TBI, but nobody knew what to do with it,” Joiner said. “I was seeing a psychologist and a psychiatrist and given medication that helped with my anger, but not with my other problems.”
    Army medical personnel saw many Warriors like Joiner coming through the system. Beyond his anger, he experienced a loss of motor skills, had trouble balancing and other physical symptoms. They knew they had to do more to combat the other effects of TBI.
    “Staff Sgt. Joiner’s story is a classic example of TBI,” said Maria Crane, who holds a doctorate in psychology and works as the ERMC Traumatic Brain Injury Program Manager. She said since his first blast injury in 2005 the Department of the Army has invested a great deal of money for research, specialized care, augmentation of expert staff and building and equipment funds.
    That effort paid off for Joiner and his family, he said.
    “In 2008, I was deployed again, and again I was involved in an IED but not to the same extent as my first injury,” Joiner recounted. “But my headaches increased, my balance and memory problems became worse, and my ability to concentrate was almost non-existent. My agitation and anger were greatly exacerbated. I thought ‘oh no, here we go again.’”
    This time, though, he said he received treatment.
    “I received a CAT-scan, an MRI, neuropsychological testing, optometry assessment, occupational therapy, psychotherapy and medication.” Joiner said. “As a result of treatment my symptoms have greatly improved and I am able to be myself again, enjoy my family, and function much better.”
    Crane said the care and treatment for Warriors like Joiner should continue to improve. “With the additional staff expertise and equipment in this primary care based program, the expectation is that with early detection and proper treatment, soldiers will get better and go back to doing what they do best, staying Army strong,” Crane said.