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El Pasoans raise awareness of brain injuries in the Borderland

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- Dozens of El Pasoans are treated for brain injuries every year, according to numbers from a local rehabilitation center.

Last year, Mentis Neuro Rehabilitation helped 68 inpatient and 54 outpatient survivors with brain injuries in El Paso.

"We provide cognitive intervention, with their deficits in memory, concentration and focus; high-order thinking," said Janelle Anderson, a speech language pathologist at Mentis.

Mentis rehab did not open its doors in El Paso until 2007.

Members of the El Paso Brain Injury Support Group said the Borderland has come a long way in providing adequate therapy for those who have suffered brain injuries in the community.

Administrators with Mentis said many patients come from New Mexico to seek therapy - because there is no rehabilitation facility like this in their state.

Loraine Perez's husband, Jose Perez, is one of those patients that received care at the facility.

"He had a brain hemorrhage and it just burst," Perez said. "It was a clot size as big as my wrist."

Although Loraine said he recovered physically, she could still tell something was not quite right.

"He was in the stage of denial, not wanting to be there because physically, he was OK," Perez said.

But after weeks of therapy at Mentis Neuro Rehab, Perez said her husband was able to go back to work.

Perez said she also draws strength from the El Paso Brain Injury Support Group.

The group meets once a month, and she is able to tell and listen to stories about challenges the families of people with brain injuries face.

Figures from the Texas Brain Injury Alliance show 144,000 Texans suffer from traumatic brain injuries every year.

The alliance also reports that 381,000 Texans live with a disability due to a TBI, and more than 5,700 Texas residents are permanently disabled by traumatic brain injuries every year.

As part of Brain Injury Awareness Month, the brain injury support group will hold a 5k run and walk this Saturday at Ascarate Park at 7 a.m.

Registration for this event is available online or onside at the event.

For more information on the Brain Injury Support Group or to register for the event, go to www.Facebook.co

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