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  • Vets Will Receive Benefits for TBI-Linked Conditions

    The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be making it possible for veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) to receive additional disability payments for 5 conditions that have been connected with brain trauma.

    The new regulation will go into effect January 16, 2014, and will provide a way for veterans with Parkinsonism, seizures, certain dementia, depression, or hormone deficiency diseases to receive the additional payments if the conditions appeared after moderate-to-severe TBI. In a press release announcing the decision, the VA pointed to a National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine study that supported a strong link between the TBI and the 5 conditions.

    According to an article in Stars and Stripes, VA does not characterize the change as a new entitlement, but as a more direct path to payment. The current system allows for the additional benefits, but only after veterans submit medical documentation verifying a link between their TBI and the second condition. The new system will not require the documentation, but will base benefit eligibility on the severity of the TBI and the length of time between the brain injury and the onset of the second condition.

    Nearly 300,000 veterans have been found to have brain injuries since 2000, according to the Department of Defense.

    APTA has been a strong advocate for the important role physical therapy can play in treatment and management of TBI. Access more resources at the association's TBI webpage.

    Physical Therapy Named a 'Top Job' for 2014

    Physical therapists (PTs) have been listed among the career paths with the strongest recent growth and most potential for expansion in the future, with rates of increase greater than registered nurses and database administrators, among others.

    According to rankings from Forbes magazine, PTs are the fifth strongest-growth professionals, behind software developers and market research analysts, but ahead of web developers and petroleum engineers. The ratings were based on a recent study (.pdf) by Career Builder and Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.

    The Career Builder study projects that the US workforce will grow by 4.4% 2013–2017 and estimates the PT workforce to increase by 13% during the same time. The study's total projected number of PTs in the workforce is roughly similar to projections generated by the APTA Workforce Task Force, which has created supply and demand scenarios based on rates of attrition and other factors.

    Magazine Looks to PT for Winter Sports Advice

    A national publication has turned to a physical therapist (PT) and APTA spokesperson for advice on how to approach the winter months. And his take? Get moving.

    Spry magazine asked Robert Gillanders, PT, DPT, OCS, to comment on how winter sports can create opportunities for new levels of calorie burn through outdoor activities that most people don't engage in year-round. Gillanders said that activities such as cross-country skiing and even sledding are a way of not only "tricking your body" into more intense exercise but helping to relieve winter blahs. "People who exercise outdoors are happier, more satisfied, less depressed," he told Spry. Gillanders' comments appear in the December 13 online edition.

    Spry is a monthly magazine focused on lifestyle, diet, recreation, and leisure activities that promote health and wellness.