Marines

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Sgt. Andrew Fischer, a crew chief with 2nd Marine Division’s 2nd Tank Battalion, comforts his son during a forum about traumatic brain injuries and neurological disorders hosted by the Exceptional Family Member Program at the Russell Marine and Family Center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 10.Fischer said he hopes to see more families attend such events.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

TBI, neurological disorders forum draws military families, professionals

22 Jul 2013 | Lance Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera

Members of the military community affected by traumatic brain injuries and neurological disorders gathered with medical professionals to discuss resources, treatments and general advice in a forum hosted by the Exceptional Family Member Program at the Russell Marine and Family Center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 10.

Experts ranged from medical professionals to educators. Families struggling with traumatic brain injuries and neurological disorders provided insight into their experiences and experts shared facts, suggestions and their perspectives.

The forum was casual, with participants speaking openly and receiving frank information from other families with similar experiences and from knowledgeable professionals.

Neurological conditions and traumatic brain injuries can have mild to devastating effects on a person.

Traumatic brain injuries have physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, poor concentration and mood swings, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

Neurological disorders include migraines, epilepsy and brain tumors among many other conditions. Hundreds of millions are affected by neurological disorders worldwide, according to a publication by the World Health Organization. 

Sgt. Andrew Fischer, a crew chief with 2nd Marine Division’s 2nd Tank Battalion, and his wife, Samantha, attended the event to meet other parents like them. Their son nearly drowned about a year ago and suffered severe injuries as a result. With their family far away, they wanted to expand their local support network.

During the forum they learned of support groups, camps and organizations that can help provide knowledge and support to them and others in similar situations.

Andrew and Samantha said they hoped to see more families attend such events in the future.

The types of injuries and disorders that affected participants and their families varied. Military spouses spoke of their service member’s wartime wounds, and parents dealt with the effects of medical conditions and trauma on their children.

“We try very hard to provide diverse events for different people,” said Tracy Sosa, the program manager with the Exceptional Family Member Program.   

The forum was back by popular demand, Sosa added. It was requested by families who attended one like it in the past and participants discussed plans to meet again.

The Exceptional Family Member Program provides support to military families with special medical or educational needs. Such needs can include diagnosed physical, educational, intellectual or emotional needs. Workshops and forums offered by the program are typically open to any member of the military community.

Upcoming Exceptional Family Member Program events include family bowling, swimming and an ice cream social.

For more information about the Exceptional Family Member Program, visit mccslejeune.com/efmp or call 451-4394.