Since World War I, American service members have been exposed to blast-wave injuries largely unknown in wars previous to industrialization. While wounds of the body tend to be visible, trauma to the brain from blast wave, concussion, and post-traumatic-stress or (PTSD), are largely invisible having short but also possible long-term effect with symptoms lying dormant for years or even decades after the wounds are sustained. Today medical advancements have greatly increasing survival rates more than any other time in history, but adequate treatment for the unseen injuries have not kept pace.
According to the Veterans Administration (VA), TBI and PTSD are considered psychological disorders. Treatment options including yoga, meditation, equine therapy, dogs, and pharmaceuticals which can be prescribed indefinitely. SSRI and narcotic cocktails offer little quality of life or long-term health benefits. However, mounting research demonstrates hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to be beneficial in the treatment of brain injuries. Clinical trials have shown improvement in IQ, reduction in headaches, decreased incidents of suicide, and reduced rates of depression. Unfortunately, veterans with blast wave and other traumatic brain injuries have been denied access to HBOT chambers around the country.
Kentucky is at the forefront as one of the first states to pass legislation to open HBOT chambers to disabled veterans with TBI and PTSD. It is our hope that opening the oxygen chambers to service members will allow them to begin to receive the best and most appropriate care for their unseen combat-related injuries.