FORT BRAGG: Military brain injury center breaks ground - WNCN: News, Weather

Fort Bragg brain injury center breaks ground

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

Fort Bragg leaders and visitors celebrated a groundbreaking on Friday for a new center focused on brain injury and psychological health in service members.

When the Intrepid Spirit Center is finished next summer it will diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries (TBI), post-traumatic stress (PTS) and related conditions in service members. TBI and PTS are prevalent effects of the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan, but they are invisible and often hidden.

"It just seems that people don't realize that this is a major wound and it has to be taken care of," commented Arnold Fisher, philanthropist with the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the organization that raises money to build the Fort Bragg center and eight others.

The Fort Bragg Intrepid Spirit Center is the fourth center of its type in the nation. Each one costs about $11 million to build – money that comes from private donations. The Military Order of the Purple Heart Foundation Service Foundation contributed $500,000 to help with the construction on Fort Bragg. Each center is being donated to the Department of Defense to operate upon completion.

The centers are offering the most advanced care possible to service members returning from deployment and allow for treatment closer to home. They serve as satellite offices of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) in Bethesda, Maryland.

"What we'd like to do is break down the barriers in helping these people, helping them understand that the stigma of that kind of mental condition no longer should exist in the military," explained Dr. James Kelly, the director of the NICoE.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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