Funding for Haley, USF Partnership

TAMPA, FL -

Doctors at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital say nearly 15 per cent of today's combat veterans return with some type of head injury.

Many come to Tampa for treatment. It's one of only four Poly-Trauma units in the country. But Haley's Dr. Steven Scott says it's been tough to get funding for treating some head trauma.

'Because you can't see the traumatic brain injuries many times,' Scott says. '[With] spinal cord [injuries] they're using the wheelchair and you can see it. And so the non-visualization of the head injury many times made it more difficult for the public to become aware of it.'

Haley is trying to secure $450 million in federal grants to beef up their traumatic brain injury resources.

Chief of Staff Dr. Edward Cutolo says the money could help them build a research network with the University of South Florida so scientists could track patients and prepare to treat them over a lifetime.

'[Even] if the war was to stop today, some of these soldiers are in their low 20s, early 20s. And their life expectancy is most likely going to be 80 years, so we have another 60 years that we have to provide care to them.'

Hospital officials say they have always had traumatic brain injury patients, but never to the extent of the current conflict.

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