DCoE Blog

  • Military Health Experts Share How 9/11 Shaped Future Careers

    Read the full story: Military Health Experts Share How 9/11 Shaped Future Careers

    This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. This moment in history shaped our nation and our military. Many Americans felt called to serve. The men and women who were already in uniform serving were reminded of why they signed up, the vow they took and commitment to defending our nation.

    Almost everyone remembers where they were the moment the planes hit the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It’s a memory that is etched in our minds forever. This year for the anniversary, the Defense Health Agency posted stories from staff members. Below is an excerpt of our own staff at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). Visit health.mil for a complete list of stories.

  • Yoga Helps Me Manage PTSD

    Read the full story: Yoga Helps Me Manage PTSD
    Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Eder practices yoga, which helps him with posttraumatic stress disorder (Courtesy photo by Chris Eder)

    As our medical understanding of the brain continues to grow, treatment options for brain-related issues continue to expand. Service members with a psychological condition or traumatic brain injury now have a variety of clinical treatment options as well as supplemental care options. These choices for care can feel overwhelming or confusing at times. This series will feature stories by service members and veterans sharing how a particular treatment, either clinically recommended or complementary, helped them cope and heal. All experiences shared are that of the author. Anyone coping with a psychological health concern or traumatic brain injury should work with their health care provider to determine the best treatment option for their individual needs.

    In the first post, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Eder describes how yoga helped him with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    When I first practiced yoga in 1999, I wasn’t seeking enlightenment or to become a better person. I wasn’t even looking for relief from PTSD. I was in pain from a pinched sciatic nerve, and I discovered that yoga stretches made my pain go away for longer periods than cortisone shots. It wasn’t long before I noticed that yoga also relieved symptoms of my attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. I was hooked!

  • Father’s Day Has Added Meaning for Veteran with PTSD

    Read the full story: Father’s Day Has Added Meaning for Veteran with PTSD
    Photo courtesy of Hall family

    For a typical dad, Father’s Day is a summer Sunday afternoon when the rest of the family showers him with gifts and affection.

    For retired Army Maj. Jeff Hall, Father’s Day is different. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has changed his outlook on life.

    “It is not about gifts,” Hall said. “It is more about us being together.”

  • TBI Champion Recovers from 50-Foot Fall with Support from Family, Friends

    Read the full story: TBI Champion Recovers from 50-Foot Fall with Support from Family, Friends

    In 2014, Regina and Jim Woodside received an urgent call from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Their son, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Colin Woodside, was in the emergency room after falling 50 feet while he was rock climbing. Although Colin always wore a helmet while climbing, he took it off this time to retrieve gear at the top of the cliff. The doctors said he had sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was unresponsive — but alive.

    Regina and Jim were on the next available flight out of San Diego. “We didn’t know if he would ever walk again. We didn’t know if he would talk again…,” Regina remembers. “There was a wonderful doctor in the emergency room, and he said, ‘It’s going to be a while, but he’s going to recover.’”

  • Soldier Opens Up About Sexual Assault, Recovery

    Sexual assault imposes significant psychological consequences on the survivor, as shown by this soldier’s story of recovery. DCoE appreciates her courage to share her story and her desire to help others.

    Read the full story: Soldier Opens Up About Sexual Assault, Recovery
    Photo by Spc. Michael Sharp

    Pvt. Jane Smith (not her real name) enlisted in the Army right out of high school in 1999 and joined a unit driving trucks at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She was excited about her new job and aimed to make the military a career. But Smith’s excitement came to an abrupt end shortly after her arrival.

    Smith was raped by a fellow soldier.

  • TBI Champion: Open Up to Your Kids about Brain Injury

    Read the full story: TBI Champion: Open Up to Your Kids about Brain Injury
    Photo courtesy of Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

    Air Force veteran John Sharpe sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 1990, when he fell asleep behind the wheel of his truck and ran into a tree. He was in a coma for more than 40 days.

    More than 25 years later, John is a TBI advocate who works at the Department of Veterans Affairs as a liaison to help patients get the care they need. He has a daughter and son, ages 13 and 11.

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