Sam Hodgson for the Public Insight Network
Former Marine Corps sniper Richard Gilbert crams for a final exam in one of his communications classes at the University of California-San Diego in March. Gilbert was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury while he was deployed in Iraq. He’s developed systems and tools to work around the symptoms of his condition and navigate life as a college student with TBI.
Among the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – post-traumatic stress disorder, lost limbs and traumatic brain injury – it’s the last that tends to get the least amount of attention. But for veterans who head to school after their service, traumatic brain injury can be an especially difficult diagnosis.
The symptoms read like a list of all the things that can keep you from succeeding in school: It causes trouble with concentration, cognitive processing, reading comprehension, and memory. In the classroom, those symptoms can spell disaster.