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Michigan veterans return with severe brain injuries

Throughout the month of month of March health care providers are trying to educate the public about the symptoms and dangers of brain injuries as part of National Brain Injury Awareness Month. Although anyone can suffer the effects of a severe brain injury, this year, special attention has been paid to veterans returning to Michigan after their service overseas. Moreover, these types of medical conditions can prevent many veterans from earning a regular income and doing the things they love.


Since 2000, nearly 220,000 service members have sustained traumatic brain injuries in the line of duty and more are injuries occur on a daily basis. Additionally, in Michigan alone, about 12,000 people receive the same types of injuries every year. Traumatic brain injuries can be sustained in a variety of ways, including motor vehicle accidents and major falls. These injuries range in severity, from minor concussions to incidents causing permanent neurological damage. Oftentimes, these injuries go undiagnosed in the field of combat, so it is important for veterans and their families to be aware of the symptoms and effects of brain injuries as they come home.

Depending on the severity of the injury, symptoms may prevent themselves with loss of consciousness, depression, dizziness, headaches or memory issues. Furthermore, the symptoms may progress to the point that it may become difficult to stay focused, use critical thinking skills or complete work-related duties. Traumatic brain injuries can affect veterans' personal relationships and employment status. Thankfully, once symptoms are recognized there are treatments to allow veterans to cope with their potentially life-altering injury.

Traumatic brain injuries can affect the families of veterans in so many ways. Without the ability to hold down a job, it may become very difficult for families to cover their cost of living, not to mention any medical expenses stemming from a brain injury. Knowing this, military families dealing with brain injuries may be able to benefit from Social Security Disability payments as they adjust to the return of their loved ones. After all, military veterans have risked their lives to serve all of us, so providing disability benefits is one way society can work to support them as they come home.

Source: Hillsdale Daily News, "Physicians, health care providers urge veterans' families to know signs of TBI," March 14, 2012

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