Patriot Guard “Breath of Life” Ride to Escort Hyperbaric Chambers as a Symbol of New Life for Veterans Everywhere

Patriot Guard Riders traditionally escort fallen Veterans to their final resting place. In a historic shift on this somber tribute, the Patriot Guard embrace the opportunity to escort hyperbaric oxygen chambers as symbols for the new life they can bring to Veterans suffering from the ravages of traumatic brain injury – the invisible wound of war.

The chambers are destined for Las Vegas, Nevada. Patriot Guards left Houston TX with the chambers to help spread the good news about the treatment that is not available to Veterans inside the VA. The veteran population faces a rising suicide rate and over 800,000 brain-wounded veterans and active duty service members are told there is no treatment that heals the wounds to their brains. Yet for over thirty years, HBOT has been responsible for thousands of successful interventions to help return the wounded to more normal lives denied them by VA reliance on addictive drugs and use of ineffective and unproven interventions.

Sponsors include Chere Pederson, past President & Founding member of Blue Star Mothers in Southern Nevada; Las Vegas Veteran advocate Janet Franco, founder of the Pay it Forward Network International; and Barry Meuse, Air Force combat fighter pilot and Veteran advocate. They have combined to bring hyperbaric oxygen therapy to Las Vegas-area Veterans. HBOT is used tens of thousands of time daily helping athletes, first responders, police and firefighters and their families and is a game-changer in the fight against the epidemic of Veteran depression, homelessness and suicide caused by the scourge of untreated traumatic brain injury.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), widely used to treat a variety of injuries and diseases, has been shown to “permanently curtail TBI and PTSD symptoms, returning Veterans to a more normalized life” according to Dr. Paul Harch, perhaps the nation’s leading TBI and PTSD researcher and clinician. Dr. Harch published the first case of HBOT benefiting veterans with TBI and PTSD in 2009. Subsequently he and others worldwide published peer-reviewed confirmatory evidence that HBOT is safe and effective. Recent research from the Army offers preliminary proof of what medicine has been saying without proof for nearly 100 years — blasts cause physical damage, and this physical damage leads to psychological problems, i.e., PTSD. The importance of this admission cannot be overstated: this is a DOD discovery with documented evidence that blast injury [IEDs, breeching, whether in training or combat, enemy and/or friendly fire] can lead directly to physical brain damage and the accompanying effects, many of which have been heretofore diagnosed as “only PTSD.”

The effects of the TBI/PTSD epidemic will linger for years if not confronted. The good news is that treatment with pressurized air has been shown to be effective for treating TBI/PTSD/PCS dating back decades. Vietnam Veterans and professional athletes wounded decades ago have been effectively treated and returned to near normal function.

The planned Imagine N.O.W. Hyperbaric Treatment Center of Las Vegas will provide care to thousands of Las Vegas and Nevada Veterans who suffer daily from the devastating effects of TBI and PTSD. It will operate in cooperation with other Las Vegas and Nevada-based Veteran advocates such as the Blue Star Mothers, the Concerned Veterans of America, the Veteran Village of Las Vegas, the local chapter of the Disabled Veterans of America (DVA) and many others.

The new Imagine NOW Center will treat Veterans under a research protocol to advance the science and include other supporting cognitive and physical therapies to raise cognitive skills as well as providing job-training opportunities to help Veterans treated at the Center return to the work place as productive citizens of the community.

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