Symposium shapes education, relationships, research
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
Acute Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium members toured several training areas on Fort Leonard Wood during their visit to the installation in conjunction with the TBI symposium April 12.
Story and photos by John Brooks

General Leonard Wood Army  Community Hospital Soldiers, leaders and community members learned about the effects of TBI during the annual Traumatic Brain Injury Symposium April 13 at Fort Leonard Wood.

The annual symposium focused on acute symptoms of TBI and featured topics ranging from prevention to treatment with a primary focus on headaches this year.

Three specialists from Missouri were on hand to provide information about TBIs from a neurology perspective.

Dr. Bassam Hadi, a neurosurgery  specialist at Phelps County Regional Medical Center, spoke on the effects of neurological injury. Dr. Mignon Makos, a neurology specialist at PCRMC, spoke on the pressures involved with continuing with the fight and completing the mission when TBIs are involved, and Dr. Eric Hart, a psychologist from the University of Missouri, spoke on the neuropsychological consequences of TBI.

As a result of the ongoing education, relationships and research, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital is able to better treat Soldiers affected by TBI.

Instructors at the grenade range demonstrate what happens when a Soldier fails to throw the grenade down range over the concrete wall. When this happens, the instructor ensures that the Soldier exits the grenade pit quickly and then gets on top of the Soldier against the short wall to avoid injury from shrapnel.

Relationships are essential to recognizing and evaluating concussed Soldiers, said John Ingersoll, GLWACH’s chief of Clinical Operations, who is also GLWACH’s AENC liaison officer.

Four years ago, TBI experts from across the country were invited to tour the installation and share their particular area of TBI expertise with Soldiers, leaders and the community during the first symposium.

Since then, scientists, physicians, and other TBI professionals have toured Fort Leonard Wood’s training areas each year to experience firsthand what Soldiers go through.

They climb into bunkers, experience simulated vehicle rollovers and feel the effects of throwing live hand grenades.

During visits, they talk to each other about their current research projects, such as the placement of various sensors on Soldiers in different training situations to measure the effects of explosive impact on the human body.


Possibly the most significant development for TBI research here was the official establishment of a regional group of researchers known as the Acute Effects of Neurotrauma  Consortium, Ingersoll said.

“The mission of the AENC is to better understand TBI through research and to move forward with better treatment and prevention techniques in the future,” Ingersoll said.

The AENC is centered around a new framework for facilitating new TBI research requests at Fort Leonard Wood, known as the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.

“The fact that researchers can knock on the door is a big deal,” Ingersoll said. “We have created a mechanism to allow high value TBI research to  occur on Fort Leonard Wood.”

Research done on Fort Leonard Wood has already impacted the safety of Soldiers.

“We have changed policy across the Army with research done here at Fort Leonard Wood,” said Maj. Michelle Whitlock, GLWACH’s TBI Program director, referring to Army-wide changes made in Army Engineer explosives safety training.

Creating a culture

It’s all about creating a culture, Ingersoll said.

“We want to create a culture where leaders, Soldiers and battle buddies are able to recognize that a TBI may have occurred and then proactively engage,” Ingersoll said.

“Recognizing Traumatic Brain Injury is about relationships, knowing when TBIs happen, and shaping an environment that is supportive to those who encounter TBI,” Ingersoll said.

The hope is to create a culture that will mitigate effects of TBI and keep our Soldiers in the fight. And the annual  symposium, the AENC, and the CRADA work together to help scientists, physicians, Soldiers and leaders understand,  prevent, report, and treat TBI.

(Editor’s note: John Brooks is the marketing specialist at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.)
Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 May 2017 )