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Study focuses on returning wounded soldiers to meaningful civilian lives

December 2, 2012

Record numbers of soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious spinal cord injuries (SCI). Medical advancements can help heal their physical wounds, but little is known about how these veterans re-engage with their communities and rebuild meaningful lives. "How do they transition back to family and community life? How do they adjust to their physical impairments? And how do they reconfigure their homes, their work and their lives?" asked Cathy Lysack, professor of occupational therapy and gerontology at Wayne State University. Lysack and Mark Luborsky, professor of anthropology and gerontology at Wayne State University, are co-principal investigators on a new $456,000 grant from the Department of Defense to explore those questions. The three-year grant, shared between WSU's Institute of Gerontology and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will study how service members and veterans with SCI reintegrate into society. Luborsky believes "the time is ripe to discover how military personnel with SCI create a sense of connection."