Recreational Rehabilitation Can Help Wounded Warriors Return To A Normal Productive Life

You have a family member who returned from combat overseas with a traumatic brain injury. His life, as well as your family's, is suddenly turned upside down, and you don't know what the future will bring. You know it's going to be a long and tough rehabilitation process, and whether he will fully recover is uncertain. One type of rehab is called therapeutic recreation, and it can help patients to return to the activities they did prior to the injury.

What's a Traumatic Brain Injury?

 Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a blow or penetrating injury to the head that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. It can be mild with few symptoms, to severe, leaving a person comatose for an extended period of time. According to the CDC, TBI is a significant public health problem in the United States, with more than 2.5 million cases in 2010. According to a spokesperson for Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO), traumatic brain injury is the most significant injury of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It can be especially difficult to deal with because often it's hidden.

TBI can cause side effects, including impaired thinking, vision, hearing, memory, movement and sensation as well as personality changes.  These problems can have a lasting effect on the individual, as well as their families, occupations, and leisure activities. Rehab is a long process and has varying levels of success long-term. Most TBI patients require weeks, months, or years of support and rehab services. Therapeutic recreation is just one of those resources.

What Is Therapeutic Recreation?

Therapeutic recreation, also called recreational therapy or recreational rehabilitation, is a program that provides various activities that help improve motor, cognitive, and emotional skills that will help restore normal functioning and independence. Activities are based on a patient's needs and interests and may include social interactions such as dining or going to movies, dancing, swimming, role playing, board games and non-strenuous sports like golf or bowling.

How Does It Work?

Trained recreational therapists will work with the patient, health professionals and family members to determine appropriate rehab activities for each patient's particular injuries and challenges. They will collaborate on what activities would be beneficial and when it's safe to start them. The team works together to set short and long-term goals, provide therapy for both immediate and anticipated future problems and present feedback on progress or setbacks. Programs may be part of an inpatient rehab program or on an outpatient basis, and can complement other types of physical and psychological therapy in a patient's overall rehabilitation from a traumatic brain injury.

If you have more questions about your loved one's condition, contact a company like Nick Roselli Occupational Therapy