Different Ways to Teach Health and Wellness to Adolescents with TBI

[Dr. Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa] Our program started out as a cognitive rehabilitation program and because of focus groups that we did with the parents and their teens, we learned that what they need is a more global approach, especially years after the injury, and one of the issues we've added was health and wellness. Instead of having physical therapists come in, we bring in athletic trainers, and that totally changed the kids' interest in participating. So regardless of their ability to move, the athletic trainer does a fitness assessment and gives them a personalized plan. We also have kids who look like they have recovered physically and would like to get back into sports, and they're afraid to or they've tried on their own and not been successful. By bringing in a trainer for those kids interested in going back to organized sports, he does a return-to-play evaluation and does some assessment with endurance and if symptoms appear with exertion. We also had a focus last year of teaching kids different ways to be active in their communities because they come to us for a period of time but go back to their home communities. So we ask people to come in and demonstrate Taekwondo, for example. We have two peer coaches who do Zumba—they're Zumba instructors. We all did zumba, and we did a hike together. So we try to show them different ways to be active. And pick something that will keep you active, but you don't have necessarily to go back and play an organized sport. You need to be active.

Returning to team sports is not the only way to be active and engaged  for kids with a TBI. Dr. Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa talks about creative ways to get teens active in their communities again post-injury.

See more video clips with Dr. Haarbauer-Krupa.

Posted on BrainLine July 2, 2013.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.