Hundreds of thousands of military personnel have been diagnosed with some level of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the past decade, many as a result of combat. TBI and Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) can have long-term and sometimes severe effects on service members’ lives, affecting their ability to work, manage basic living tasks, and interact with others – even with their own families. Depression and more tragic consequences, including suicide, can result. Proper and immediate diagnosis and early treatment are crucial to addressing this vital need among America’s military personnel.
Following the opening of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) in 2010, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund launched its current effort: building Intrepid Spirit Centers to serve as satellites to NICoE to extend care to the home base of many of the troops suffering the effects of TBI and PTS. Seven centers are already completed and in operation and the eighth center is currently under construction; two additional centers are planned.
Each Intrepid Spirit Center is approximately 25,000 square feet and costs about $14 million to build and equip. The centers are designed around the interdisciplinary model of care developed at NICoE, which brings all disciplines together under one roof, and provides a comprehensive means of delivering treatment. Patients with TBI can manifest many different symptoms, including physical indicators, such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, irritability, mood swings, vision, hearing and balance issues. They may also exhibit mental health symptoms, such as verbal or physical outbursts, impulsive behavior, poor judgment, inflexibility, depression or anxiety. The Intrepid Spirit Center model of interdisciplinary care permits all medical disciplines to address these various issues together. Clinical and other professional services involved in treatment include: neurology, nutrition, physical therapy, speech and hearing therapy, psychiatry, occupational therapy, speech pathology, neuropsychology, ophthalmology, and nursing, among others. Experts provide specialized care using traditional methods, such as neurological exams, physical therapy and sleep studies, combined with integrated health treatments, including acupuncture, yoga, mindfulness, art and music therapy. This model of care has enabled more than 90% of patients to continue on Active Duty with many of their symptoms reduced or controlled.
Seven Intrepid Spirit Centers are open and operating and the eighth is currently underway:
Ground was broken for the Intrepid Spirit Center at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, VA, on June 13, 2012, and the Center was officially opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 11, 2013.
Ground was broken for the Intrepid Spirit Center at the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, on June 13, 2012, and the Center was officially opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 2, 2013.
Ground was broken for the Intrepid Spirit Center at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Fort Campbell, KY, on June 13, 2013, and the Center was officially opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 8, 2014.
Ground was broken for the Intrepid Spirit Center at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC, on January 24, 2014, and the Center was officially dedicated on March 31, 2016.
Ground was broken for the Intrepid Spirit Center at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, TX, on June 12, 2014, and the Center officially opened on March 9, 2016.
Ground was broken for the Intrepid Spirit Center at Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, on October 29, 2015, and the Center was officially dedicated on April 5, 2018.
Ground was broken for the Intrepid Spirit Center at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, CA, on May 9, 2017, and the Center was officially dedicated on April 4, 2018.
Ground was broken for the Intrepid Spirit Center at Eglin Air Force Base, FL on May 2, 2019 and construction is currently underway.