Ross Zafonte, DO: Challenges of Treating Veterans and Service Members with Both TBI and PTSD


For many service members and veterans, traumatic brain injury and PTSD often go hand in hand, with some of the symptoms of these conditions being co-morbid. By using evidence-based treatments, providers work with their patients with the goal of getting them as symptomless as possible.

Dr. Ross Zafonte is the Chief of Traumatic Brain Injury for Home Base, part of the Wounded Warrior Project's Warrior Care Network.

For information about treatments for brain injury please visit The Treatment Hub.

Our approach to those with dual diagnosis, those people who have TBI and PTSD, is to really think about what is driving the symptoms for that particular individual, but also take a step back and say do we really need to tease out everything? In many ways, so much of this could be comorbid. So the sleep could be involving two things - someone’s memory problems could involve two things. Their headaches are more likely brain injury. We’re trying to get to a symptomless person or a diminished-symptom person. So, some things we do want to tease out; other things we want to focus in on evidence-based therapies for what they do have, we know they have, and hope that both entities will improve. BrainLine is powered in part by Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families.



Posted on BrainLine October 6, 2021. Reviewed October 6, 2021.

About the author: Ross D. Zafonte, DO

Dr. Ross Zafonte is the Clinical and Research Leader for Traumatic Brain Injury at the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. He is the Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, vice president of Medical Affairs at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at MGH.

Headshot of Dr. Ross D. Zafonte