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WKU faculty members Drs. Jo Shackelford and Amy Cappiccie lead a panel presentation on the experience of veterans returning from conflict, information on incidence of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in wounded veterans, and common signs of TBI at the 2014 Kentucky Lifesavers Conference at The Galt House in Louisville in June.
The conference was attended by first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, and emergency medical service personnel from across the state.
WKU professors Jo Shackelford and Amy Cappiccie recently presented at the Kentucky Lifesavers Conference.
The presentation also shared the ongoing Research and Creative Activities Program (RCAP) research project in which Drs. Shackelford and Cappiccie are forming an advisory team to develop a curriculum for training law enforcement and other first responders about the signs of TBI.
Increased awareness of TBI and ability to differentiate TBI survivors from other mimicking conditions, such as intoxication, would decrease the occurrence of conflicts between returning veterans and law enforcement officers.
Panel members brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the presentation. After an introduction to the topic by Dr. Shackelford, Maureen O’Brien, an occupational therapist who works with TBI survivors at the Fort Knox TBI Clinic, shared video of combat experiences of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. She described how combat experiences affect returning soldiers, contributing to their difficulty in re-acclimating to civilian life, and how mild TBI can further affect behavior.
Dr. Cappiccie discussed the topic from a social work perspective, and underscored the importance of de-escalation techniques in working with veterans with TBI.
Todd Motley, Crisis Intervention Coordinator for the Louisville Metro Police Department, spoke about the benefits of CIT training and the positive impact it has had on officers’ ability to de-escalate and manage interactions with people who need support and services rather than incarceration.
Sonny Hatfield, Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist for Kentucky, described the Veteran’s Court program, which allows veterans in crisis to be directed to support services and rehabilitation when they come to the attention of law enforcement.
Eddie Reynolds, Director of Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, shared resources available to TBI survivors, both military and civilian, in the state of Kentucky.
Michael Schwendau, Assistant Director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, described how returning veterans’ behaviors can result in aggressive driving, making this issue one of importance to first responders.
The panel presentation was well attended. Heather French Henry, recently appointed as Kentucky Commissioner for Veterans Affairs, attended and spoke after the panel in support of training in TBI for first responders. For further information on the RCAP research project, contact Dr. Shackelford at email@example.com or Dr. Cappiccie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Jo Shackelford, (270) 745-4306.