March is TBI Awareness Month- are you aware?


March is TBI Awareness Month- are you aware?

Chrisanne Gordon, MD.

As a rehabilitation physician, Chrisanne Gordon, MD, thought she knew all about recovery after a Traumatic Brain Injury, (TBI) at least until she experienced her own. Dr. Gordon, quite literally, hit a brick wall with her head while putting up Christmas decorations. She was unconscious nearly immediately, and remained “in the dark” for about 20 minutes before she emerged, groggy and confused, and unable to speak. Her journey back to the “new normal” would take over a year – and would lead her to a new understanding about rehabilitation for brain injuries in otherwise healthy individuals.

She considers her own injury as the “boot camp” for what was to come – her work with veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which left nearly 750,000 young men and women with injuries sustained by the blast of an improvised explosive device (IED), or the explosion of a rocket propelled grenade (RPG), or even the concussive forces of heavy artillery. It took Dr. Gordon a year to recover, with all the benefits she had available as a health care provider; how much more difficult it would be for our young warriors trying to reintegrate to the civilian world and navigate the Veterans Administration. It is for these military members, veterans, and their families that Dr. Gordon shared her personal story in the book, Turn the Lights On!,” available here and on Amazon.

Dr. Gordon, founder of Resurrecting Lives Foundation, with the assistance of writer Andrew Milller, is bringing this message of hope and recovery to TV and radio to spread awareness of TBI for our military members who may be injured in training as well as combat. She discusses her own journey back from TBI, while Andrew Miller skillfully integrates the recovery stories of veterans and even athletes in very personal accounts of injuries sustained from the battlefield to the playing field. This is a book of hope, with many resources for those struggling with this injury.

If you are a veteran who is experiencing the following, understand that these signs can be an indication of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and should be taken seriously:


blurry vision

difficulty with bright light

ringing in the ears

excessive tiredness

memory loss or poor concentration

Symptoms like this can still be present months after the injury occurs. If you or someone you know complains about these symptoms, seek medical help.

Several pages of national and local resources are also included in the book. TBI is treatable and manageable when given proper attention. If you need more information, or if you wish to comment on any of the programs below, please contact us at

Turn the Lights On! is a book of hope, with many resources for those struggling with this injury. To watch or listen to these brief but powerful radio and tv discussions, follow the links below.



Turn the Lights On! Book tour, Spring 2019

Let’s Just Talk with Kathryn Raaker- LIVE Aired Saturday, March 2: 10:00 am Link to listen Nationally syndicated radio show with three million listeners
Staying Young Radio Podcast released March 5, 2019 Link to listen Nationally syndicated radio show that airs on over 40 stations across the country
MyND Talk radio with Dr. Pamela Brewer Podcast released February 28, 2019 Link to listen March Nationally syndicated 30-minute daily radio show and podcast
Good Morning Cincinnati at 9 Aired Monday, March 4, 2019 Link to watch WKRC/CBS 12 Cincinnati, Ohio
San Antonio Daytime at 9 Monday, March 11, Link to watch KABB/Fox 29 San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio Living Monday, March 11, Link to watch KABB/Fox 29 San Antonio, Texas
Morning News Houston Tuesday, March 12 Link to watch KRIV-TV Fox 26 Houston, Texas
Live on Lakeside Monday March 25 11:05 am Link to watch WKYC/NBC 3 Cleveland, Ohio
Pittsburgh Now Air Date to be announced WXPI/NBC 11 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


March is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month

From the Board: Christopher Brown, MD, MPH, FACP, FNKF

Christopher Brown, MD, MPH, FACP, FNKF

Dr. Brown is a kidney specialist working at Adena Medical Center in Chillicothe, Ohio. He is a board member of the Isabelle Ridgeway Foundation and a former board member of the YNOTT foundation. He serves on the medical advisory board for the National Kidney Foundation as well as the advisory board of Lifeline of Ohio. He is a member of the Resurrecting Lives Foundation Board of Directors.

As a civilian, one can take for granted the connection between civilians and the military. Over the last few decades there has been an erosion of understanding of our civic responsibilities. One unique make up of our democratic republic is that the military is under civilian control. As such the citizens of this country have a unique responsibility for our military. Through our votes, we indirectly determine where and with whom our military will be engaged. We also indirectly become responsible for individuals when they return home.

Membership has its privileges… and its responsibilities. While I think that American citizens have taken generous advantage of the privileges of being Americans, I’m not certain that we have shouldered our responsibilities as citizens of this great republic. Oversight of the health of our veterans, ensuring that our representatives are accountable for the outcomes of our institutions, is one of our unique responsibilities.

As a member of a family with members who served in the military during times of war and peace, including members who served in World War II, Korean, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars, I have come to realize the importance of that culture and our responsibility to those who have given so much for our benefit.

While TBI in general has a very ancient history, with descriptions in ancient texts, the use of explosives has increased its prevalence during war. The signature wound for our recent conflicts and wars has become traumatic brain injury, or TBI. While obvious head wounds cause TBI, closed head injuries can lead to TBI that can be more subtle in onset, difficult to diagnose, and have tremendous impact on not only the soldier who suffered the injury, but also the family that he or she returns to.

Diagnosing TBI can be quite difficult because it can present in multiple different ways and may manifest itself later than the injury. It requires a level of suspicion in individuals exposed to certain conditions, with the most important and common in the military being blast injury likely from an IED. Signs and symptoms of TBI in veterans returning from a war zone include

  • Behavioral, mood or personality changes
  • Difficulty identifying, processing or describing emotions
  • Persistent headache

Once a TBI is suspected, the veteran should be sent for formal evaluation, which will include a medical interview and exam, and likely imaging. The imaging may or may not reveal an injury; similar to TBI in football players, the imaging changes may occur years after the actual injury. The following are some of the clinical testing for evaluating a veteran with a history of TBI:

  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to evaluate the working brain
  • Neuropsychological assessment to help plan rehabilitation
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging to evaluate important tracts in the brain

For those who receive a diagnosis of TBI, referral for appropriate resources is necessary. Support will depend on the severity of the injury and should include cognitive retraining and ongoing monitoring as necessary.

While TBI is a complex disease, with appropriate screening and resources this is a disease that can be managed.

March is TBI awareness month. Join RLF in increasing the awareness of this disorder that affects so many of our returning warriors. As citizens, we have a duty to ensure that the veterans of our conflicts and wars are cared for; to ensure that those who kept watch on our behalf receive the treatment for injuries sustained while keeping us safe.