This weekend, VA will host simultaneous “hackathons” with a goal of developing innovations to help Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.  The event brings together experts, developers, clinicians, Veterans, caregivers and the public and gives them the opportunity to collaborate with each other. The hackathon fosters the development of innovations in access, diagnostics, rehabilitation and community reintegration for Veterans with mild TBI and PTSD.

A panel of leading VA and industry experts in the field, along with Veterans and caregivers, will select up to three winners in both Austin and San Francisco this weekend.  The winners may be invited to showcase their innovation at VA’s Brain Trust Innovation Showcase in Washington, D.C., in April.

The weekend’s events are open to clinicians, researchers, developers, technologists, designers, data scientists, Veterans, caregivers and members of the public who have a desire to help develop solutions to these challenging issues. Experts and thought leaders in the TBI and PTSD realm will serve as team mentors. Industry experts from Google, Booz Allen, Vets in Tech and many more will be participating as judges and advisors. To attend and for more information, register online at this link.

Why a hackathon? The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in increased numbers of Veterans who have experienced TBI and PTSD. The Department of Defense and the Defense and Veteran’s Brain Injury Center estimate that 22% of all combat casualties from these conflicts are brain injuries.  From Oct. 1, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2014, nearly 400,000 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn Veterans were seen for potential PTSD at VA facilities following their return from these overseas deployments. The VA is committed to finding new and effective ways to treat and support our nations Veterans who are suffering from these conditions.


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Published on Feb. 18, 2016

Estimated reading time is 1.5 min.

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  1. Garry heitz February 24, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I am 70% disabled based on my ankle, PTSD, anxiety , alcoholism . I took very strong blows to my head when I jumped moving away from explosions in conflicts in areas around Fubuy sp where my ankle was injured and Bastone sp other areas where loud explosions took place . I am now suffering with Alzheimer’s disease from the traumatic brain injuries I received. I have not worked in nearly 3 years … What do I do to be rated 100%? Thx GHeitz

  2. Lucious Taylor Sr February 23, 2016 at 6:12 am

    I was in the marines from 1969 to 1975 some where alone the lines, i fell and hit my head real hard, but they just say, ain’t nothing wrong with you, you are a marine you are expendable, years later after all the head ache, losing focus, in 2004 i was on my job and something i don’t what, i fell and broke my nick, and was paralyze from the neck down, but with God’s help and a lot of therapy i am able to walk again, with a metal plate in my neck, i can never work again, here is the worse part, they don’t have any record of me, or the fall i had when i was in the marines, what do you do?

  3. Michael Norris February 21, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    After being discharged in 1991 and having over 20 jobs all with less than two years at an average. In 2007 I was being seen at the Rock Springs VA clinic about my issues of temper and nightmares that I was having. As the treatment progressed the doctors that I was having television conference s with diagnosed me with PTSD that was from a car bomb at Ramstein Air Force base in Germany. This has been a long time from 1981 to now to deal with this. It has caused so many problems with family, friends, and jobs. After being on meds from 2008 I had to go to Salt Lake City to the compensation clinic hearing and talk for 3 hours to someone that looked like she was just out of school, that made the decision if I had PTSD or not. This happened in late 2012 or early 2013. After that I was sent a letter stating that I was not living with or showing signs of PTSD and was denied my claim. By talking to the Doctor at Rock Springs I should have been given this claim. I have been trying to get this compensation for so long, and been denied that I have given up. I no longer use meds (Prazosin) I am just living with this problem day by day. Some are good and than there are the bad. We need to have more input from the doctors that see us more than just 3 hours or less. That does not give a true reading of what kind of day we are having. I drive a school bus, and some days are good, some you flash back to that day, others you try so hard not to break down and cry. We need the help, we need to be approved on claims. We did not ask for this, but we have it and did it for our country.

  4. George Wendell Alexander February 21, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Well congratulations. At least you got referred to therapy for PTSD. I served four tours in Vietnam and have yet to get any therapy at all. Only been over 40 years.

  5. thomas j thomas February 20, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I received a medical discharge from the service in 1957 from the US Navy. My discharge stated that I had passive-aggressive reaction. In 1976 I applied to the VA .for medical help and they told me there was no program for passive-aggressive reaction, and was turned down. In 2012 I applied using the term “post traumatic stress” and was sent to a psychiatrist at the VA hospital. Through my records in the service and what I told the psychiatrist, she said I was mis-diagnoised in 1957, and that I was suffersing PTSD at that time. I was granted 100% disability. I applied for back pay and was told there was no evidence that I had PTSD prior to 2012. I’m still fighting for back pay but it looks like it’s not going to go any where.
    Thomas J. Thomas

  6. David R Comegys February 20, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Look up Welcome Home Initiative for combat vets at

    This retreat is free to vet, spouse, and children if residing with parents. Over twenty retreats done and all very successful.

  7. Perry M. Hagan February 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    My problem is something happened to me in 1964? I received a TBI while in the Marine Corps searching for a down fighter jet around Paris Island,SC. According to my medical records I had a broken right femur and left shoulder, blood and scratches all over my face and was transported to Fort Stewart Georgia for my injuries. I do not remember this ever happening to me I have a dent in my head and scar. I have headaches, dizziness,and loss of memory, sleeplessness, anger to name a few. I was told by 2 of the best doctors that VA uses on normal bases that I had a TBI and for years I’ve gone to physico therapy before finally understanding my problem. I’ve paid out a lot of money out of pocket over the years VA didn’t understand what was wrong. I would put holes in the walls and doors, scream,get into fights in fact I was facing one to five years for almost killing a guy. My two children stopped having anything to do with me got the last 15 years until recent. I missed out on my children and grandchildren during that time. My wife at that time divorced me after 20 years of marriage (go figure).

  8. Jerry mid February 19, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Interesting step I would rather the VA stop telling VA doctors to diagnose people with PTSD when they have Tbi. Also, the VA needs to have a rating for Tbi residuals

    I have been fighting the system since 1986. I finally was diagnosed with PTSD five years ago. I have been evaluated three times for possible Tbi residuals. EVERY time I went to the evaluation, the doctor told me that didn’t have a Tbi even though I told them I was there for the residuals eval.

    The doctor who diagnosed me as having PTSD was let go a month later from the vamc. I started seeing a mental therapist at the va. He told me after a few sessions that “I was too angry for him to be able to help me”. I know pay about $500/month for my own therapy.

  9. David L Pursey February 19, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Why is MST (Military Sexual Trauma) NOT included with personnel who suffer from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Most victims of MST suffer PTSD.

  10. Chris Flores February 19, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    i was stuck in the head head by a tank lid,yet i still am not covered by the va, how long do i have to wait,i filed claims,i was knocked out cold,i guess i will never get any coverage for the things that happened while i was in the army

    • DONNA RENNINGER February 19, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      It took me 28 years to get compensated for a rape that happened while I as in Basic Training , in 1987. I also had to wait to get coverage under the VA. I am now covered but suffered 28yrs with PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks. nightmares, alcoholism and the loss of my son as a result of the rape. I still suffer everyday but i am 11 1/2 years sober. I hope you some day do get your compensation and coverage you deserve. You deserve it. I am sorry to hear what happened to you. never give up on yourself and allow God to continue working in your life.

      • kent February 20, 2016 at 9:12 am

        Bless you SISTER, hang in there………. can I help ?

  11. Harry Blanding February 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I am a disabled Vet. and a Small Business owner. I am the leader of a Old School and Motown l Band. i donate my time to any and all Veteran/Military Events, as possible. I would love to be a part of this or any other service that I may be needed. I can be seen on Gigmaster under Cashmere Band and on Facebook.
    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

    • Tyrone L. Green February 19, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Iam PTSD VET and can’t travel because of transpotaion issues as well as issues with obtain benefits from the VA…. This is difficult at times

  12. Ralph Clay February 19, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    The VA should talk with “RCPI” about their product and get FDA to allow vets to use it. The FDA knows the value of anatabloc yet our Government big shots, sitting in big over stuffed high priced chairs, know better. Anatabloc does wonders for the user. RCPI ran a private test on GWI vets and found that it helped those who were given it. VA officials should look into this product, my thinking is that they will keep sitting on their brains and let the exGIs suffer.
    Ralph K B Clay ET2

  13. Johnithan Kussart February 19, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks, thisis a nice gesture but being too far & too short of a notice, I won’t be there.

  14. Mark Smelcer February 19, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I have PTSD and the problems that I am having with the VA is that when I try to get into support groups, they only meet in the mornings. I don’t have the type of job that I can take off in the mornings for a couple hours at a time. So I can’t get into any support groups at all. And when I try to get refills on my meds, there are times to where either my meds are discontinued or I have to contact the doctor to get the refill. Two of my meds are in that situation right now. And people wonder why Vets with PTSD go off the deep end. I have been without meds for about a month now. The earliest appointment I could get is in another month. That’s another month without meds.

  15. Terry Neal February 19, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Thanks VA. And great idea. But why am I just learning about this? No way I can travel to these locations on such short notice.

  16. CJ THOMPSON February 19, 2016 at 10:22 am

    This is a great idea, Great work VA, Thank you for helping our soldiers.

    • mark r gash February 21, 2016 at 8:02 am

      Wish in the Future our VISN was participating , Here at the KCVET Hosp. if it was i lost out . thanks alot we all appreciate this effort Something to do, that helps ,, is so important.

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