A New Outlook
Thanks to Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative, Scott N. has a new lease on life.
Scott N. has been in the United States Army since 2006, serving as a Green Beret with the 5th Special Forces Group — an elite special forces unit. Currently Stationed in Fort Liberty, North Carolina, Scott has seven deployments to the Middle East, where he was involved in combat missions.
On his last deployment, Scott’s team fired an estimated 4,000 120mm mortars. He believes exposure to frequent blasts over a long period led to sustaining traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress.
As a result, when he returned to the U.S. in 2017, he had trouble completing his daily runs. He began experiencing dizziness, vision and speech problems, and short-term memory issues. His balance was off, and he fell often. Army medical staff treated him with medication, but he says it was ineffective.
“I kept trying to get better on my own,” he says. “I thought if I just powered through it, it would all go away. But instead, it got worse.”
With no relief, Scott says he came to the conclusion that he was just going to have to live with his symptoms. It was his new normal.
That is until Scott learned about Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative, which provides rehabilitation for military veterans, service members, and first responders with traumatic brain injuries and mental health concerns. He joined the program in February 2022.
“It’s the best program I’ve ever been through,” he says.
For four months, he worked through his issues. Vestibular therapy improved his mobility, vision, and balance. Brain games helped with his short-term memory. Gaze therapy reduced dizziness.
“They didn’t throw medication at me – they gave me exercises that I still do today,” Scott says. “The difference has been amazing. It gave me a lot of hope.”
Today, Scott is back working at Fort Liberty in the Human Development Directorate, a unit that helps enlisted soldiers and officers prepare for the Special Forces Qualification Course. He has seen dramatic improvements and is especially happy to have the energy and stamina to keep up with his five children, four boys and a girl, ranging in age from eight months to 15 years.
“Now I can do more than I ever could,” he says. “SHARE changed my outlook. It’s made me a more positive person. I am now inspired to be the best version of myself for my wife and kids. Shepherd did that for me.”
Written by Sara Baxter
Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.