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Eglin AFB, Fla., opens center for PTSD, brain, pain condition treatment

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on Thursday opened its new Intrepid Spirit Center for treatment of brain injuries to active duty soldiers. Photo by Ilka Cole/U.S. Air Force
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on Thursday opened its new Intrepid Spirit Center for treatment of brain injuries to active duty soldiers. Photo by Ilka Cole/U.S. Air Force

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force's first Intrepid Spirit Center, a privately funded post-traumatic stress disorder treatment center, opened this week at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Base leadership cut a ceremonial ribbon on Thursday to open the facility, now one of 10 ISCs at military bases across the country.

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Each is approximately 25,000 square feet and cost about $14 million to build and equip, officials said.

The centers are designed around the interdisciplinary model of care developed at National Intrepid Center of Excellence, which brings multiple treatment disciplines together under one roof to offer a comprehensive means of treating traumatic brain injuries.

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"I want to tell everybody how proud I am for Eglin AFB to host the Air Force's firsts ISC," Brig. Gen. Scott Cain said at the ribbon cutting ceremony. "This culmination and capability is what we are celebrating here today and rolling out for our service members.

"The ISC is our commitment to treating those with wounds from service and our dedication to providing service members the opportunity to continue their service to the nation," Cain said.

A 2018 NICoE report noted that over 1,900 patients annually receive services through the facilities, with a 97 percent satisfaction rate reported by patients.

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Patients have symptoms including headaches, difficulty in concentration, memory loss, irritability, mood swings, vision, hearing and balance issues.

The ISC model of interdisciplinary care permits all medical disciplines to address these various issues together, with neurology, nutrition, physical therapy, speech and hearing therapy, psychiatry, occupational therapy, speech pathology, neuropsychology, ophthalmology, and nursing therapies, officials say.

The care model has enabled more than 90 percent of patients to continue on active duty with many symptoms reduced or controlled, an ISC statement said.

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The new facility at Eglin is the first with an interventional pain suite including state-of-the-art x-ray and ultrasound equipment. It is also the first with a dedicated chapel and chaplain to address spiritual healing.

Eglin's ISC has been funded a donation from the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to the Defense Department, according to the Air Force.

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