Army Veteran's Inspiring TBI Recovery Takes Him Back to School
New video highlights the importance of seeking help and getting treatment
By the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
Aug 24, 2017, 09:00 ET
SILVER SPRING, Md., Aug. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After retired Army Staff Sgt. Brian Grundtner sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a 50-foot fall during an airborne training jump, he did not know his recovery would include earning an MBA. Determined to recover, Grundtner completed treatment at a concussion care clinic and then went back to school. He graduated from Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and now thrives in his new career in business.
"I think what this injury did for me, is it allowed me to kind of see areas in my life that … probably needed to be tended to," said Grundtner. "I chose to go to grad school because I felt like, getting out of the military, you need to learn the language of business, whatever business you're going to be in. So, whether it's college or a trade school or whatever, you need to learn something to apply it, because it's so different [going] from the military to the civilian world."
Grundtner shares his story of TBI recovery and hope in a new video released by A Head for the Future, a TBI awareness initiative by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). Grundtner's video is available online at dvbic.dcoe.mil/aheadforthefuture and on the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury's YouTube channel.
"In recognition of Back to School Month, we're highlighting Brian's remarkable story of TBI recovery," said Scott Livingston, director of education at DVBIC. "His video showcases that recovery is possible if you seek help. You can get better and find success after a TBI — just as Brian did by seeking medical treatment and returning to school. The A Head for the Future initiative features a variety of TBI resources, including videos of service members and veterans sharing their experiences of TBI recovery and sustaining hope."
After his injury, Grundtner experienced sleep issues and started therapy with Brooke Heintz, a behavioral health care provider. She taught Grundtner good sleep hygiene habits to help improve his ability to fall and stay asleep.
"Knowing Brian, and kind of knowing what his goals are," said Heintz. "I think his biggest success is really finding a loving relationship, and really knowing who he is and re-identifying a place where he belongs."
Since finishing his treatment, Grundtner has earned an MBA, found success in a new career and met the love of his life. With the support of his wife, he continues to make progress in his recovery. "If I didn't get help, I can't even imagine where I'd be right now; I just know I wouldn't be where I am at," said Grundtner.
According to recent Department of Defense data, since 2000 more than 361,000 service members have been diagnosed with TBI — most occurring in noncombat settings. Falls, motor vehicle collisions, sports-related incidents and training accidents are the most common causes of noncombat-related brain injuries among service members.
To learn more about TBI and the A Head for the Future initiative, and to find additional videos and educational resources on preventing brain injury, visit dvbic.dcoe.mil/aheadforthefuture and follow A Head for the Future on Twitter and Facebook.
SOURCE Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
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