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APSU raises awareness of brain injuries in soldiers, with 2 campus events planned

As Army troops from Fort Campbell, Ky., return home from overseas combat, they are looking to re-establish a lifestyle they had before deployment or begin a civilian life – either of which could include going to back to college.

As Army troops from Fort Campbell, Ky., return home from overseas combat, they are looking to re-establish a lifestyle they had before deployment or begin a civilian life – either of which could include going to back to college.

Austin Peay State University is the school of choice for many returning veterans, as is reflected in enrollment figures showing that, on average, approximately 11 percent of APSU’s students are veterans or active duty military. Faculty, staff and students who are interested in developing greater awareness about how to serve the University’s military students are invited to attend two upcoming events.

At 2 p.m., Friday, April 1, Lt. Venecia Rhoden, a registered nurse with the Warrior Transition Battalion at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, will present a session about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), forms of brain injuries that can impact student learning and campus interactions for some returning soldiers – from simple things such as where they sit in a classroom to their ability to interact with others in the classroom.

Her presentation – co-sponsored by the Title III Center for Teaching and Learning and the Military Education Task Force, both at APSU – will be held in the Morgan University Center, Room 303. There will be a question-and-answer session and discussion after her talk.

Fort Campbell’s Warrior Transition Battalion provides six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management. In the battalion, Rhoden works as a nurse case manager, responsible for identifying, advocating, tracking and coordinating care for medically redeployed soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the presentation, participants will learn in greater detail the difference between the two forms of brain injury, the frequency of diagnosis in returning veterans, the impact both have on student learning and participation in classroom activities, and strategies to support students with PTSD or TBI in and outside the classroom.

For more information about Rhoden’s talk, notify Carol Clark, executive assistant to the president and chair of the Military Education Task Force, by telephone at 931-221-7570 or by email at clarkc@apsu.edu.

Then at 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 6, the APSU Student Veterans Organization will have a screening of the HBO documentary, “Wartorn 1861-2010,” which shares stories of military men and women who suffer from PTSD and the toll the condition has taken on their lives. The film will be shown in the Morgan University Center, Room 308.

After the screening, a panel of student-veterans will share their stories, especially the challenges they faced while in transition from combat to classroom, and answer questions.

For more information about the Student Veterans Organization, notify Dr. Lowell Roddy, director of the Student Counseling Services and adviser to the organization, by telephone at 931-221-6162 or by email at roddyl@apsu.edu. For more on the film, visit http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/wartorn-1861-2010/index.html. -- Melony Shemberger