Military and Veteran Students Office Hosting Conversation on Living with TBI

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, has been called one of the invisible wounds of war. Yet it also may afflict athletes and even ordinary individuals. Those who have learned to live and thrive following a TBI are the subject of an upcoming panel discussion hosted by Duquesne’s Office of Military and Veteran Students.

Don Accamando
Don Accamando

Living with TBI: A Conversation on Working, Socializing and Thriving will be held Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Union’s Africa Room. It is free and open to the public.

Panelists include physician Dr. Chrisanne Gordon, president of the Resurrecting Lives Foundation, and Dr. Cyril Wecht, nationally acclaimed forensic expert. Nick Grimes, director of programming and operations for the Veterans Breakfast Club, will facilitate the panel and question-and-answer session with the audience.

“I am delighted that we can provide this rare opportunity to learn more about traumatic brain injury, one of the invisible wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that it can be discussed in an open fashion for the general public to understand,” Don Accamando, director of the Office of Military and Veteran Students, said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define TBI as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury. Military service members and veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, have additional exposures to blasts from both combat and training. The department estimates that 22% of all combat casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan are brain injuries.

Gordon, a Duquesne alumna, suffered a TBI in 1996 and is co-author of Turn the Lights On: A Physician’s Personal Journey from the Darkness of Traumatic Brain Injury to Hope, Healing and Recovery. She also created Gray Matter Innovations, a manner of using technology to treat TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Wecht, who also is an attorney and medical-legal consultant, is adjunct professor in Duquesne’s Schools of Law, Pharmacy and Health Sciences. During his career, Wecht has performed approximately 17,000 autopsies and has supervised, reviewed and consulted on nearly 30,000 postmortem examinations.

Grimes also serves as the post-9/11 veterans program director for the Veterans Breakfast Club. The Pittsburgh-based organization creates communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure their “living” history is preserved for future generations.

For more information, contact the Office of Military and Veteran Students at 412.396.5366 or