Stand For The Troops seeks veteran volunteers for TBI treatment

What’s known as hyperbaric oxygen treatment offers hope to vets bearing ‘invisible’ battle wounds, according to the veterans themselves.

“I got my life back,” Major Ben Richards US Army (Ret.), director of the Stand For The Troops (SFTT) Warriors’ Task Force, recently said, and now the Greenwich-based organization is looking for help to further develop this treatment.

Greenwich’s Eilhys England Hackworth, chair of SFTT, has announced that a member of the SFTT PTS/TBI Rescue Coalition has 50 slots available to treat veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that have not responded to the standard counseling and medication.

These candidates have an opportunity to receive free hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) as part of an FDA and Army approved study. The treatment protocol, developed by Paul Harch in New Orleans, is being called “one of the promising and replicable clinical research and treatment options identified and encouraged by Stand For The Troops PTS/TBI Rescue Coalition.”

For 15 years, SFTT, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit apolitical educational foundation, has dedicated its resources to safeguarding the physical, mental and emotional well-being of America’s serving and returning frontline troops.

“SFTT salutes Dr. Harch for his innovation and persistence in adapting hyperbaric oxygen technology for his innovative cutting-edge treatment of traumatic brain injury. TBI, with its frequent companion post traumatic stress, is one of the tragic legacies of the Iran and Afghanistan conflicts. Sadly, standard treatment has not kept pace.” said Ms. England Hackworth, “Because there is no one silver bullet for treating TBI and PTS, our volunteer Medical Task Force of national and local medical and psychiatric experts is constantly on the lookout for those that, like Dr. Harch’s HBOT, provide positive outcomes.”

In March of this year, Major Richards U.S. Army (Ret.) was awarded the Purple Heart for dozens of blasts, suicide car bombers and exploding IED’s underneath vehicles sustained while leading his Stryker Cavalry troop on missions in Iraq. His ‘invisible’ wounds caused debilitating TBI and cut short a promising military career.

SFTT intervened to get him the new HBOT treatment with Dr. Harch at no cost.

The free, fully funded HBOT study is being conducted in New Orleans. It is open to the first 50 applicants with mild TBI persistent post-concussion symptoms incurred between six and 10 years ago. All participants will receive eight weeks of HBOT treatment and a six-month follow- up visit in New Orleans. Half of the study group will have a control wait period first.

Other than personal living costs while in New Orleans, the treatment is fully funded and SFTT is working to supplement living costs on a case by case basis. SFTT may be able to provide air transportation options for participants who cannot afford travel to New Orleans. Veterans interested in applying should contact SFTT at [email protected] or by phone at 203-629-0288 (Monday to Friday only, between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.).

With one in five soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan affected by combat-related PTSD and a shocking 66 vets attempt suicide and 23 succeed every day, SFTT’s Rescue Coalition is focused on helping our most at-risk veterans get the timely treatment they need to survive and transition back to their families, communities and pre-PTS lives.

The coalition works to remove the stigma by raising awareness, promoting awareness of and facilitating access to effective pro bono treatments, supporting other promising treatment protocols and establishing a modular pilot program for replication across the country.

To learn more about the TBI and PTS ‘epidemic’ and what SFTT is doing for troubled vets who ‘survived’ the rigors of war only to lose their way back home, visit Sftt.org.

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