Fort Hood, TX– Celebrating its second year in operation, the Fort Hood Intrepid Spirit Center held its annual Brain Injury Awareness Month Open House March 22 here.
The ISC provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and holistic approach to treating Soldiers with TBI, PTSD and other conditions. The center brings together doctors, nurse case managers, as well as therapists, social workers and psychologists who focus on Soldier recovery and, ultimately, a return to duty.
As a testament to the success of the program, former patient and retired Army warrant officer, Terry Flood, spoke to guests and visitors at the open house about how the program helped him.
“The first thing for me was to realize I needed help. You can’t just flip a switch when you go to war and then come home and expect everything to be perfectly fine. I had a lot of problems–I isolated myself and I was angry all the time. I held everything in as I couldn’t show any emotion or weakness,” Flood said. “I denied that I had PTS or that I was depressed and was very resistant to getting help.”
When he did come to the ISC, Flood said that he was skeptical at first. He wondered how talking to a bunch of people and things such as yoga and art therapy was going to help him.
“I really thought I couldn’t be fixed,” Flood added. “Then I let my guard down and started trusting in the process. Everything came together and helped me in so many ways. I’m so thankful for the ISC and what they taught me. I’ve learned how to live, not just exist. The program does work. If you reach out for help, you can get better and become the best version of yourself right now.”
TBIs are treatable and most people who suffer a mild TBI recover completely. For the patients at the ISC, 80 percent are returned to duty, according to Dr. Scot Engel, director of the Fort Hood ISC.
“At the ISC, we have four different specialties—medical, rehabilitation, chronic pain and psychological health—with several different modalities embedded in each of those disciplines so we can provide about 20 different services,” Engel said. “What’s so great about it, is that we have all these intelligent people who simultaneously work in unison to provide a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan for each patient, allowing for greater outcomes and enabling us to get the soldier back in the fight faster.”
Since the center’s 2016 opening, the center has nearly doubled its staff by adding a variety of holistic specialists such as art and music therapists, neuro-optometrist, massage therapist and an acupuncturist to complement its traditional behavioral health and physical and occupational therapists.
The Fort Hood ISC is the fifth center to be built by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund on military installations across the country. The ISCs are modelled after the breakthrough research into TBI treatments conducted at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.