American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill came away impressed following a tour of the traumatic brain injury program at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. But Hill wasn’t just impressed with the facilities, doctors and technology in place. He was impressed with the servicemembers being treated at the center – many who have suffered traumatic brain injuries but exhibited nothing but a positive attitude during Hill's visit. But being impressed didn't mean that Hill was surprised by the servicemembers’ attitudes.
"I’ve been to Walter Reed, and I’ve been to Brooke (Army medical centers) and now Bethesda, and it’s that way with all of them,” Hill said. “It’s just incredible how upbeat they are, and some of the family members just astonish you in their dedication. The (patients) are looking forward to getting back to their units.”
The center features state-of-the-art technology and a treatment area that includes a day room that helps integrate patients back into day-to-day situations such as working in a kitchen and doing laundry. The treatment program, which includes using video games to improve hand-eye coordination, is intensive.
“(The center) has facilities that are unmatched anywhere else,” Hill said. “They talked about dealing with the total aspects of psychological, psychiatric, surgical and physical things that happen with the process through TBI, and they can address the full treatment of all of that in that one ward there at Bethesda.
“There are people surviving traumatic injuries on the battlefield that would have never survived in past wars. The treatment that they get from start to finish is just incredible. The survival rate is amazing.”