Tripler clinic seeks to inform the public about traumatic brain injury

Lon Lebato, health care administrator, manned the brain injury information booth at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam Makalapa Clinic on March 7.

Lon Lebato, health care administrator, manned the brain injury information booth at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam Makalapa Clinic on March 7.

Story and photo by Brandon Bosworth

Staff Writer

March is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month.

TBI occurs when a blow, jolt or other injury disrupts the function of the brain. Every year, approximately 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI, and about a quarter-million military men and women have been diagnosed with some form of TBI since 2000.

Most service members sustained their injuries as a result of training accidents or motor vehicle crashes. About 30 percent are injured in combat. Concussions are the most common type of TBI in the military.

To encourage awareness about brain injuries, the traumatic brain injury (TBI)-concussion clinic at Tripler Army Medical Center has been hosting information booths at military bases around Oahu.

Lon Lebato, health care administrator, manned the TBI information booth at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Makalapa Clinic on March 7. One thing he wants people to know is that brain injuries don’t just happen to active duty members but to their families as well.

“We get a lot of kids at the clinic,” he said. “We’ve had kids who come in and couldn’t remember their parents’ names.”

Most children sustain brain injuries through sports, especially football. Others may have been injured in car accidents or other traumatic events.

Most of the adults the clinic treats are there as a result of an accident.

Lebato explained that the Tripler TBI clinic offers a variety of services.

“In addition to being the core clinic for treating TBI, we also offer services such as speech therapy and anger management counseling,” he said.

Lebato stressed that those who have experienced a head injury should seriously consider making an appointment with the TBI clinic or their primary care provider.

“People hurt their head and, just like anything else, they think they will get over it,” he said. “And they usually will. But if you’ve had a head injury that leaves you dazed, you should probably see somebody.”

Patients can make appointments with the Tripler traumatic brain injury (TBI)-concussion clinic, either directly or through a referral from their primary care provider

The clinic is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 433-6405.

According to the traumatic brain injury (TBI) concussion clinic at Tripler Army Medical Center, there are many symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. Here are a few:

* Physical
* Headaches
* Sleep disturbances
* Dizziness or balance problems
* Nausea/vomiting
* Fatigue
* Distorted vision
* Sensitivity to light or ringing in the ears
* Cognitive
* Concentration problems
* Temporary gaps in memory
* Attention problems
* Slowed thinking
* Difficulty finding words
* Emotional
* Irritability
* Anxiety
* Depression
* Mood swings

If you or someone you know has sustained a head injury and is exhibiting any of these symptoms, a visit to the traumatic brain injury (TBI)-concussion clinic is highly recommended. The clinic is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 433-6405.

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Category: News