Caregiver and Mother Pam Estes on the Importance of Staying Connected to Community Post-TBI

Caregiver and Mother Pam Estes whose son, Army Veteran Jason Ehrhart, sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at 19 talks about how staying involved in veteran-oriented community events has helped her son and the whole family feel supported.

Posted on BrainLine March 14, 2023. Reviewed March 14, 2023.

About the author: Pam Estes and Jason Ehrhart

The events of 9/11 made Jason Ehrhart angry — so angry that he enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school. In September of 2005, he was sent to Iraq as an infantry mortarman. Three months later, while traveling in Baghdad, his Humvee was blown up by anti-tank mines. Jason was blown out of the top of the vehicle and landed several yards away. Both of his legs were broken, he had third-degree burns covering 60% of his body, and he slipped into a coma that lasted for three months. When he came out of the coma, one of his legs had been amputated and he couldn’t swallow or speak. Jason’s parents, Pam and Mike Estes, became full-time caregivers for their adult son. His wounds and traumatic brain injury (TBI) meant that he could do virtually nothing for himself. The Estes family credits Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) caregiver retreats with helping them begin their own recoveries and the Independence Program (IP) with helping them turn the corner to a more normal life.

Headshot of Pam Estes and Jason Ehrhart