More than 600 researchers and doctors from around the world were at the Westin in Hallandale Beach for this year’s National Neurotrauma Symposium.
On Tuesday, it was open to the public to talk about Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI.
“Traumatic brain injury is the commonest cause of death and disability in people under 40, not only here in the United States but throughout the world. I think the military experience in Afghanistan and Iraq have done an awful lot to focus attention on all these” says Dr. Ross Bullock of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
While serving in Iraq in 2004, Derek McGinnis was injured by an explosive device.
“I had sustained a traumatic brain injury , shrapnel injury to my eye, lost my left leg above the knee,” he said.
McGinnis has written a book called “Exit Wounds,” and in it he provides answers to the many questions plaguing injured vets and their loved ones.
Yasnier Ravelo, 18, of Miami, can relate even though his injury happened in his own backyard. His brother was shooting target practice with an AK47. A bullet ricocheted and hit him. While pointing to the bridge of his noise he describes what happened.
“The bullet hit me right here in the nose and it went behind my ear all the way to the back,” he said.
He had two surgeries to remove the bullet and was hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital for 42 days.
McGinnis spoke at the symposium’s public event. Yanier and his parents were in the audience listening to his experiences and perspective after a life changing injury, He calls it post traumatic growth.
"Not to negate post traumatic stress disorder though, that’s always going to be there, or the traumatic injury that they incur. But again, how can we grow from that, how can we develop,” he said.