South Hosts Brain Injury Camp
Posted on July 18, 2022 by Joy Washington
A unique three-day summer camp for survivors and families dealing with life-altering injuries provided new methods, strategies and technologies to help them have a better quality of life.
Faculty and students in the University of South Alabama’s Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions and the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences were part of a multidisciplinary team that recently collaborated with the Alabama Head Injury Foundation to host a successful Bright Ideas Traumatic Brain Injury Camp in USA’s Health Sciences Building.
“We had 11 survivors and caregivers actually attend the camp this year,” said Kendra Hudson, senior instructor and clinic coordinator speech pathologist. “This was our first time hosting the camp since the beginning of the pandemic. The USA students involved in this camp gained first-hand perspectives on how the individual disciplines make recommendations and communicate with the survivors and caregivers. We are caring for the whole person.”
Hudson said the overall goal of the camp was to help injury survivors pursue a better quality of life by providing therapeutic activities they can take back to their homes. They participated in counseling, speech-language pathology, physical therapy, cooking/nutrition sessions, assessments and occupational therapy sessions, which were added this year.
“We were able to identify the survivor's hearing, communication, mobility and daily living needs,” said Hudson. “In addition, survivors were introduced to social media, specifically TikTok. They also watched a video, which showed them how a person can transfer from a wheelchair to a walker. What was exciting is that the survivors and the caregivers got to listen to the story of Kearria Freed, a USA graduate who suffered from a traumatic brain injury. She has overcome obstacles to earn a degree from South and start a foundation to support others in need.”
The survivors who attend the camp are several years removed from the incident that caused their traumatic brain injury. The multidisciplinary approach allows the camp to be a life-changing experience for the survivors and caregivers.
“We are pleased to have been able to collaborate with the University of South Alabama again to provide this summer camp that has provided significant outcomes for the survivors and caregivers,” said Executive Director Scott Powell of the Alabama Head Injury Foundation. “It was special to see the students’ relationships build over the three days with the survivors. The survivors benefited from the outstanding multidisciplinary team approach presented by South’s faculty and students. They provided the much-needed training, along with the compassion and empathy that is always needed.”
Each of the survivors received an Amazon Fire Tablet loaded with apps to use for communication, socialization, cognition and daily living tasks.