The Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute, located in Boulder Colorado, has a history of helping people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) by using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Now, partnering with Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injuries, Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute has become a national testing site for the National Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation Clinical Trial for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-concussion syndrome (PCS) and TBI. The non-profit Association received a $7500 grant to assist in paying for the HBOT treatments for U.S. military veterans. A retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant suffering from TBI and PTSD was the first veteran to receive assistance.
Staff Sergeant Jess Seiwert received a series of severe blast injuries to the head while serving in Iraq from 2005-2006. Seiwert was a decorated, respected and qualified sergeant. During one blast, he was blown out of a Hummer and knocked unconscious while rescuing a fellow soldier from a burning vehicle. The blast put Seiwert in a near coma and he suffered a broken collarbone and broken wrist. With little treatment for these injuries, he was later assigned to patrol for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), driving over one, resulting in additional injuries to the brain. Seiwert was medically discharged in Ft. Carson, CO where he was diagnosed with PTSD and TBI and given off-label prescription drugs to treat these conditions. He became addicted to some of the prescription medications and is now in rehabilitation for the addiction in addition to receiving oxygen therapy for TBI and PTSD. According to Seiwert, “The oxygen is helping me feel less stressed and to think more clearly. My tour in Iraq was life-altering and this treatment is helping me to put my life back together to be a better father and to one day help other vets with PTSD.”
Army Sergeant Margaux Vair is the second veteran to be helped by the Association. Vair served two tours in Iraq and suffered a series of blast injuries while patrolling as a Military Police. One blast threw her back into the turret and she suffered a traumatic brain injury. She has since had brain surgery and been treated for symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Vair was a participant in an initial study using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for her TBI, PCS and PTSD. These treatments helped with Vair’s cognitive abilities and it was recommended that she receive a second round of treatments. Vair stated, “Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injuries was the only nonprofit in the nation that was willing to help me afford these treatments.” Vair has completed her second round of treatments and has been able to discontinue taking her depression medications. “I was taking high doses of Topomax and Cymbalta. I have been able to come off both drugs after this round of treatments”, said Vair
With brain trauma, brain cells die or are damaged and become dormant from lack of oxygen. When brain cells die or are damaged, the abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. These abilities can include judgment, speech, movement and memory. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy delivers oxygen enriched blood to areas of the brain affected by the injury.
HBOT is an AMA recognized medical treatment that enhances the body’s natural healing process by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a chamber where the atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. “The Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute is the only HBOT clinic in the state involved with the national clinical trials. The Association is the only nonprofit in the U.S. which focuses on offering financial assistance for HBOT treatments to our veterans. “We’re honored to participate in this important study of oxygen therapy for brain injury and, more importantly, to help our veterans.” Eddie Gomez, co-founder of the Association.
The Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injuries offers need-based financial assistance for HBOT treatments through their HBOT for Brain Injury and Healing our Heroes programs. The Association also provides assistance in organizing fundraising efforts, help with finding discounted travel and lodging and educates professionals and the community on the benefits of HBOT. The Association is currently seeking monetary donations so they can continue funding hyperbaric oxygen treatments.
The Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute of Boulder offers three monoplace chambers for hyperbaric oxygen therapy under the medical direction of Dr. Julie Stapleton, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician and is reviewed by the AMA, FDA, CDC and other hyperbaric specific regulatory agencies.
For information contact Ryan at the Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute at303-442-4124 or visit http://www.rockymountainhbot.com or contact Eddie at the Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injuries at 303-442-4124 or visit http://www.rockymountainhyperbaricassociation.org.