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Post hospital opens restoration center

POSTED: November 4, 2009 12:44 p.m.
Photo by Lauren Hunsberger/

A ceremony was held outside the center, near Winn Army Community Hospital.

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Spc. Leah Robinson, a 3rd Infantry Division soldier at Fort Stewart, stood Tuesday facing a brightly painted wall as the ground literally shook beneath her.
Other soldiers stood nearby, eyes glued to a screen that mapped Robinson’s every move.
The tremors, created by a plate the specialist stood on, were used to measure Robinson’s height and weight, determine her body makeup and gauge how her body and mind responded to the jolting stimuli.
The machine determines a soldier’s overall stability and it’s just one of many interactive tools the doctors at Fort Stewart’s new Warrior Restoration Center will use to treat mild traumatic brain injuries such as concussions.
The center is dedicated to treating mild physical injuries as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and a few other issues involving brain health.
Cpt. Jessica Parker said it’s a specialty clinic where doctors who suspect a problem can refer patients to seek treatment in four main areas.
“We offer concussion
management services, combat operational stress services, PTSD, and neurology services and chronic pain management services,” she said.
Parker said for the past year, Fort Stewart has been able to provide soldiers with some of these services, but now they have a two-building center with new equipment and technology.
Around the corner from the balance machine Robinson demonstrated is a full-scale humvee simulation with virtual reality goggles and fake guns to test soldiers’ reactions to real road situations that might arise during combat. The tool is used to check the troops’ cognitive reactions.

Filling a gap

Many commanders and families who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon said they were thrilled to see the new center open. 
“Opening up the Warrior Restoration Center highlights our commitment to taking care of soldiers with invisible wounds of war,” said Col. Paul Cordts, commander of Winn Army Community Hospital. “The vast majority are mild injuries or concussions — no less important — but the vast majority of soldiers we’ll take care of here will be concussions. They won’t be soldiers with moderate or severe brain injuries.”
Cordts said the center is also a relief for families and friends who know soldiers suffering from a brain trauma.
“The families are an integral part of the process of taking care of soldiers,” he said. “In fact, families are often the first ones to recognize that a soldier is having difficulty in some area.”
Brig. Gen. William Gamble, commander of the Southeast Regional Command and Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, attended the center’s opening. He emphasized the importance of education and awareness regarding brain trauma.
 “PTSD and mild traumatic brain injury many times go unnoticed because they have no physical signs and they need no stitches, no braces, no casts, and no surgeries,” Gamble said. “Soldiers suffering from these two injuries may not even be aware they’re suffering themselves.”
He said difficult detection coupled with the stigma surrounding brain disorders has prevented many soldiers from getting the help they need.
“It’s not a weakness to seek help but rather a strength. Strength to admit you need help, and strength to get that help,” Gamble said.
Cordts said although many of soldiers are currently deploying or on schedule to deploy, the center will be ready to handle anyone who needs services when upon returning to the area.
 

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