State Representative Jay Steagall, who leads the House and Senate Veterans Caucus, initiated a study at the state Capitol to investigate how Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) could improve the lives of veterans and other Oklahomans. This study revealed the potential benefits of HBOT.
Unlocking a Promising Therapy
HBOT has shown promise in treating conditions like Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), including concussions, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mental health issues, and reducing the need for anti-depressants and opioids. Rep. Steagall, a retired U.S. Air Force Reserves member, emphasized the importance of exploring this therapy for Oklahomans, especially veterans, teenagers recovering from sports injuries, and those with severe illnesses.
Rep. Steagall highlighted the challenges faced by veterans returning home with visible and hidden wounds, which, if untreated, can harm their quality of life and increase the risk of suicide. He shared stories of veterans and active-duty military personnel who found relief and healing through HBOT.
Real-Life Testimonies Painted a Compelling Picture
During the study, Kris Morgan, a retired senior airman, shared his journey of recovery through HBOT treatment for TBI and PTSD. Caleb Freeman, an Oklahoma teenager, also talked about how HBOT aided in his recovery from a car accident. Derek Dennis, a former college football player, discussed how HBOT transformed his life after football-related concussions.
Derek Dennis, a former college football player and current high school football coach, candidly discussed his journey. He recounted years of irritability, insomnia, depression, and thoughts of suicide that he later realized were the consequences of football-related concussions. Dennis praised HBOT for transforming his life, enhancing impulse control, stabilizing his mood, and fostering healthier relationships.
HBOT changed my lifeDennis Derek
Expert Insights and the Path Forward
Dr. Alfred Johnson explained why HBOT benefits the brain and its role in tissue healing. He noted that 80% of veterans treated with HBOT regained employment and functional lives after 80 hours of treatment. Paul Conrady, a hyperbaric chamber operator, discussed tools for assessing recovery and the cost-effectiveness of HBOT.
Paul Conrady, a hyperbaric chamber operator with Oklahoma Oasis in Edmond, discussed tools to assess recovery in individuals who have suffered concussions and other injuries. This includes phone apps that display baseline brain function compared to post-injury assessments, which medical professionals can use to determine the need for treatment. They also touched upon the cost-effectiveness of HBOT in comparison to traditional measures.
Rep. Steagall’s commitment to exploring HBOT as a viable treatment option represented a significant stride toward offering hope, healing, and improved quality of life for those who have served our nation and all individuals in need of relief from the burdens of various medical conditions.
State of Oklahoma. House of Representatives. House Media. https://www.okhouse.gov/media