Computer center helps heal wounded soldiers

February 27, 2008 5:28:24 PM PST
An exclusive look inside a new high-tech facility at Fort Bragg, designed to help soldiers heal the wounds of war.

By March or April, there will be more wounded soldiers recuperating at the new Army Center for Enhanced Performance (ACEP), than at Walter Reid Army Hospital.

It is not just for physical injuries, but also mental and emotional wounds.

Private First Class Jake Veresh has a traumatic brain injury and is recuperating at the center.

"I had a catastrophic equipment malfunction," Veresh said. "Basically, I didn't have a chute even though I jumped out of the plane with one. It malfunctioned."

A part of Veresh's recovery process includes a numbers game, "It's hard to stay focused. Concentration is pretty shady and you kind of feel a little bit less smart kind of like you knocked yourself silly which is kind of funny because you did."

Every month, hundreds of soldiers use the center on Fort Bragg to become more focused and confident.

Originally intended to keep healthy soldiers sharp --it is now also providing invaluable with the injured.

Permanent spinal problems will keep Sergeant Danny Wilson from ever driving a Humvee into combat again, but a simulator teaches him lessons he can use in the civilian world.

"Things that didn't make me anxious in the past, might today. I can't really explain why that is, that's just the way it is," Wilson said.

During exercises, soldiers use real guns that have been outfitted for the simulator. The program helps soldiers, wounded soldiers and their families.

It began at West Point, part of the Sports Psychology program for the football team. The basic concept ?the power of positive thinking.

The goal is for everyone to make a mind-body connection using a training-trust mindset.

"We try to show them where that line is and train them when it's time to train then have them believe that they have everything that they need to excel in combat or in life, when it's time to perform," ACEP Site Supervisor Jim Ruesch said.

For Veresh, it is visualizing a successful athletic event, over and over again. A concept that appeals to many.

"They can be dealing with a person who has an acute brain injury and can't remember how to spell their name one day and the next they can be dealing with elite Special Forces soldiers who are at the top of their game," he said.


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