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 injury. TBI and psychological health (PH) conditions can have long-term and sometimes severe effects on service members’ lives, affecting their ability to work, interact with others, manage basic living tasks, and even interact with their own families. Depression, inability to work or live normal lives, and more tragic consequences including suicide can result. Proper and immediate diagnosis and early treatment are crucial to addressing this critical need among America’s military personnel.
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is addressing this critical need. 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 and extend the care provided at NICoE out to the home bases of many of the troops suffering the effects of TBI and PH conditions. Nine centers will be constructed in total with seven centers already completed and in operation.
Each Intrepid Spirit center is approximately 25,000 square feet and costs approximately $12 million to build and equip. The centers are designed around the interdisciplinary model of care developed at NICoE. This model of care brings all disciplines involved in TBI care together under one roof, providing a comprehensive means of delivering care. TBI can result in many different symptoms, including physical symptoms such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, irritability, mood swings; and mental health symptoms such as verbal or physical outbursts, impulsive behavior, poor judgement, inflexibility, depression or anxiety. The Intrepid Spirit model of interdisciplinary care brings together all the medical disciplines that can address these many and varied symptoms: Neurologist, Nutritionist, physical therapist, speech therapist, psychiatrist, and others. These experts provide the specialized care TBI requires using methods both traditional such as neurological exams, physical therapy and sleep studies; and non-traditional, such as acupuncture, art therapy and speech therapy. This model of care has proven amazingly successful, allowing more than 90% of patients treated able to return to family and regular service in the armed forces with many of their symptoms reduced or controlled.
Ground was broken on the Intrepid Spirit center at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in 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 on the Intrepid Spirit center at the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune on 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 on the Intrepid Spirit center at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on 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 on the Intrepid Spirit center at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, TX on June 12, 2014, and the center officially opened on March 9, 2016.
Ground was broken on the Intrepid Spirit center at Womack Army Medical Center on Fort Bragg, NC on January 24, 2014, and the center was officially dedicated on March 31, 2016.
Ground was broken on the Intrepid Spirit center at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA on October 29, 2015 and the center was officially dedicated on April 5, 2018.
Ground was broken on the Intrepid Spirit center at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton on May 9, 2017 and the center was officially dedicated on April 4, 2018.