Ross Zafonte, DO: The Comprehensive Approach to the Home Base Program

Home Base, a free Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital program, started small, but then and now—as it has grown to help 1,000s of veterans and service members nationwide—it remains a passion for many. The program focuses on treating the invisible wounds of war like TBI and PTSD. With evidence-based treatments in all domains like behavioral therapy, physical therapy, health and wellness, and medications, providers help these warriors with issues that run the gamut from sleep apnea and cognitive function to depression and physical pain.

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.

The Home Base program is truly a passion for many people. It is this collaboration between the Red Sox Foundation Mass General Hospital. And it began as a very small, small program that now treats thousands of veterans nationwide with a focus on treating the invisible wounds of war, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is comprehensive in its nature, taking people from all over the United States and, really, now also a group of people who are Special Forces service members. For those with traumatic brain injury or PTSD or Special Forces members who’ve had extensive exposure, a comprehensive set of assessments and treatments are really what we need to do. So we really look whether this person has hormonal disorder, sleep apnea, problems with pain. What is their actual cognitive function? Are they depressed? Do they have truly concomitant PTSD or another disorder? What has been their background from a load and other perspective? Are they having other medical issues? How much is their executive function, their ability to organize and execute, make decisions, a problem? What are the issues they may be having with headaches or migraines? And develop a plan under each one of those domain areas. So, that could be injections or medications or physical therapy or likely behavioral therapy and the advocatory role of nutrition and exercise. 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