As part of Brain Injury Awareness Month, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is recognizing brain injury survivors who are thriving with help from the agency’s Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services program.
The CRS program serves Texans who have experienced traumatic brain injuries in various situations including car and motorcycle crashes, slips and falls, sports-related concussions, violence, and explosions. The most common issues associated with brain injuries are memory loss, delayed speech, emotional issues, and impaired sight, hearing and mobility.
“We serve individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury and we get to know them as people so we can figure out what their lives were like before their injuries and what their goals are for recovery,” said CRS Counselor Melanie Roth. “From there, we are able to create a plan that’s tailored to their individual needs. We become advocates for them during this process and celebrate their successes as they achieve their goals.”
HHSC’s Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services program connects survivors to the resources and services they need to recover and become more independent. The needs of each survivor vary based on the nature of their brain injury, so counselors with CRS collaborate with them and their families to create a recovery plan that addresses their specific issues.
Some of the services and resources that brain injury survivors receive include physical and occupational therapy, psychiatric treatment, speech therapy, employment assistance and support groups.
“With the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services program, I’ve been able to receive help from a neurologist and therapist, as well as be part of support groups with people who have similar injuries as me,” said Mark Edwards, a CRS program participant. “The encouragement from doctors and the support group helped me move forward and push through my services. I’m proud of myself for coming as far as I have.”
Edwards suffered a brain injury after a car hit him while he was crossing the street on his way to class at a community college in 2019. He has been receiving services to regain his motor skills and deal with the emotional trauma from his accident.
“CRS is a fully moldable program that can help address your specific issues. It’s not a one-size-fits-all program,” said Jaclyn Chadwick, who participated in the program after surviving a shooting and becoming partially paralyzed and blind in 2017. “They identify your deficits and problem areas and look at specific options for you to help resolve those and gain your independence.”
Chadwick received occupational and physical therapy through the CRS program and is now able to walk, drive and hold conversations again.
More than 380,000 Texans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. To learn more about brain injuries and treatment strategies, join HHSC’s free virtual conference and webinar series throughout the month of March.