Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Strokes are one of the most pressing health concerns in the nation right now. According to the CDC, TBIs are the leading cause of death and disability in Americans 35 and younger. There are a reported 1.7 million cases of TBI in the United States every year. Ongoing research is continuing to help TBI patients and many organizations are working on rehabilitating those who have suffered brain injuries.
One such organization is the Move2Improve Foundation. Sean Entin, CEO and Founder of the nonprofit, is a brain injury survivor himself. “I went from being a strong 40-year-old-male to being an infant all over again,” says Entin. “Basically, I was a 6-month-old child after my surgery. I had to relearn everything; speaking, writing, reading, and eating.”
It was Entin’s realization that there are so many others just like him that led to the creation of Move2Improve. As he was receiving rehabilitation from his stoke, Entin says, “I came across a lot of people who were leaving (the hospital) to go home early, and where I got the therapy needed to rebuild my brain, these people got sent home because their insurance ran out or just lack of funds.”
The rehabilitation Entin received is why he was able to get back to living his life. This is something he learned that many people fail to realize about TBI/stroke patients. He explains, “The brain will never heal itself. It is not like a broken bone or a displaced shoulder, a hip, a foot — those can be healed.” He adds “Move 2 Improve provides TBI survivors with physical therapy, cognitive therapy, and occupational therapy — all necessary components to getting one’s life back.”
“I don’t want them to just be surviving,” Entin said. With his foundation, he wants to help people get back on their feet, behind the wheel, and working their old jobs again.
Move2Improve stands out from similar nonprofits in that they document every step in the rehabilitation and provide video proof to the donors who made it all possible. The needed funds come from corporate sponsors, donors, press and media, crowdfunding, and many other sources, but Entin and his staff make a commitment to keeping their donors in the loop.
“Whether the recipient is in a wheelchair, walking again, having speech therapy and talking, or using a simple iPhone,” states Entin, “we also keep the donor to recipient network alive.”
Getting one’s life back does not come cheap, however. Entin says a full rehabilitation to get someone back on their feet and working can cost anywhere between $150,000 and $250,000, a price many simply cannot afford. This is why organizations such as Entin’s are so vital.
TBIs have many forms. They could result from a stroke or a blow to the head, something many athletes incur in their daily professions. Mild traumatic brain injuries, or mTBI, more commonly known as concussions, are a huge area of concern for modern athletes.
A recent Forbes article highlighted a new eye tracking technology that would work well as a first response for those with suspected head injuries. “Patients with these types of injuries may have minimal findings on CT scans or MRIs,” Dr. Robert Glatter, the article’s author explains. “Because eye tracking measures how well the brain functions rather than assesses what it looks like, it provides very different information than imaging studies,” added Dr. Uzma Samadani, MD, PhD, a source in the article.
It is clear that many are hard at work trying to help the astounding number of TBI patients. Discoveries such as the eye tracking technology or the achievement of rehabilitation by organizations like Move2Improve are all part of the puzzle. A recent success story Entin shared was that of a young girl who fell off her horse three years ago. Recently rehabilitated she has made physical gains taking her from her wheelchair to now walking unassisted.
These success stories have not gone unnoticed. “Right now, I have probably 50 people on my waiting list,” says Entin. The need for TBI solutions and support is clear.
Those who want to donate can contribute to individual recipients or the overall foundation. To find out more, visit m2i.org.
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