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MossRehab creates center to help veterans with brain injuries

Philadelphia's MossRehab creates institute for brain health to serve veterans
Philadelphia's MossRehab creates institute for brain health to serve veterans 02:12

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia has a center dedicated to veterans who suffer from brain injuries. It's an issue for a growing number of vets since 9/11.

MossRehab recently created the Institute for Brain Health to serve veterans and first responders with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"My father served 21 years, retired gunny," veteran Carlo Aragoncillo said.   

Military service is a family affair for Carlo Aragoncillo, who was in the Army for 11 years. His service included deployment in Iraq. 

"You don't realize you're affected," Aragoncillo said.     

Aragoncillo says it wasn't obvious right away but he was eventually diagnosed with PTSD. He also had a traumatic brain injury, TBI, suffering from a variety of symptoms including dizziness and anxiety. 

"When you have both, again, it's hard to discern which one is TBI, which one is PTSD?" Aragoncillo said. 

Research shows since 9/11, a growing number of military members suffer from brain injuries - often called invisible wounds. 

"There are problems, such as that you can't sleep or that you are irritable. You're sensitive to light and to sound and maybe you have migraines frequently," Kate O'Rourke said. 

Kate O'Rourke is the program director for the MossRehab Institute for Brain Health.  

"It's a safe space," O'Rourke said. "It can tend to be very emotional to have to explain this, explain your injuries, and so our team felt like it was important to have our own space for these folks to be able to tell their story, and then you know, heal and get services." 

MossRehab's institute is one of 16 federally-funded traumatic brain injury models and will soon be moving to a new space in Willow Grove.

Aragoncillo is the vet liaison. 

"Being a no-cost program, you get it free to veterans and first responders. Doesn't matter what discharge, doesn't matter what era they served in," Aragoncillo said. "We're here to help out, give you an answer." 

The MossRehab Institute for Brain Health also provides services for the families of veterans and works in conjunction with the VA. 

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