Army Specialist Donald Jarvis cleared roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was on patrol in Afghanistan in February when a bomb exploded under his vehicle. "Causing the vehicle to roll onto the driver's side which is my side, I sustained a right knee injury at that time."
But what he didn't know until about a month later.. he had also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury or TBI. "When I got to Germany, I started noticing the memory problems and everything else."
Symptoms of a TBI can include headaches, sleep disturbances, and problems with balance, concentration and attention.
Nearly 245,000 men and women who have served in U.S. forces have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries since 2000. The majority of those cases were mild. "Sometimes it's difficult to diagnose unless you see a specialist, but once it's diagnosed properly, you can recover 100%," says Dr. Heechin Chae of Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
Specialist Jarvis still struggles with headaches, sensitivity to light and has trouble sleeping, but thanks to his treatment at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia, his memory is getting better. "As far as speech therapy goes, I'm working with different techniques to improve my memory like associations and things of that nature."
He hopes his intensive treatment will make it easier to adjust to life when he returns home to Massachusetts in a few months.