>> SPC & New Fort Bragg facility

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Two years after breaking ground, a new health care facility to treat soldiers scarred by war is open at Fort Bragg.

The new 25,000 square foot Intrepid Spirit Center cost $14 million to build, without taxpayers dollars, but the services it will provide for wounded warriors is priceless.

The center is one of four satellite centers connected to the facility at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland.

Soldiers, and some family members, will receive world-class treatment for symptoms connected to traumatic brain injuries.

“We provide education; we do a log of research here based on those injuries, and we treat those guys holistically,” said Capt. Henry McMillian.

Many of the soldiers treated at the Intrepid Spirit Center have battle scars not seen by the naked eye, such as concussion produced by exposure to an IED, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from witnessing tragedy on the battlefield.

“Anything from physical ailments—pain, headaches, those types of things—to cognitive symptoms that I assess that treat, like attention and memory problems, to emotional distress,” said neuropsychologist Dr. Wes Cole.

The doors just opened, but the facility is expected to treat about 30,000 patients per year.

Experts say even though the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over, 80 percent of the brain injuries that are being diagnosed actually happen during treatment.

“Here on Fort Bragg we’re home of the 82nd Airborne, and you get a lot of injuries from those Airborne operations,” Cole said. “So it’s really important to fulfill that need because there is a big need in this area.”

Soldiers have been waiting for services that the center will offer for some time. It will help some with traumatic brain injuries to keep their jobs and stay on active duty.

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