Talk on treatment of TBI in vets to be held at NYU

NEW YORK, NY – Prominent rehabilitation experts will co-host a two-hour panel discussion on treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in veterans under age 25 returning from the Iraq War as part of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation’s 15-city American PABI (Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury) Heroes Tour.

Drs. Steven Flanagan and Joan Gold are leaders in the field of physical rehabilitation in children/young adults with brain injuries. Flanagan, a well-known physiatrist who is the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, will chair the panel discussion.

Colonel Jim McDonough of the Veterans Administration and Judi Weinberger, the Director of Vocational Projects of the New Jersey Brain Injury Association, and Dr. Jean Simon will also participate in the panel discussion, which will take place on May 4 at the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center (400 E. 34th St.) from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Simon, PT, Supervisor of Rusk’s Pediatric Physical Therapy Department (, also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation.

The American PABI Heroes Tour will begin in Boston on May 3, continue to New York City on May 4 and other cities, later ending in Seattle on May 17, with a medical panel discussion around one of the seven PABI categories of care as well as a separate musical competition in each city.

The purpose of the American PABI Heroes Tour is to educate the general public about PABI as well as to recognize musical artists around the country who have helped or are interested in helping families of children and young adults with PABI.

“This is going to be an incredible way to honor these American PABI Heroes while also raising awareness of PABI and support for families who are already struggling with it,” stated Patrick Donohue, the founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation which is sponsoring the American PABI Heroes Tour.

Flanagan added, “Health care providers need to better understand, recognize and treat veterans with traumatic brain injuries. Many of our injured vets are in fact young adults, which makes TBI in this particular group a form of pediatric acquired brain injury. PABI is the leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults in this country.”

Donohue continued, “Treatment of young veterans with brain injuries is vastly different from the treatment of older vets, and since the adult brain doesn’t finish developing until the age of 25 those injuries are still considered pediatric.”

Simon noted, “We would like to invite people in the community to show their support for these families by coming to the musical event the evening of May 4. It will be a night of fun and entertainment that’s also for a great cause.”

In New York, five semi-finalist musicians have already been selected from the numerous applicants who applied through the official tour website, and those semi-finalists will perform in the Ruth and George Farkas Auditorium at NYU Langone Medical Center from 7-9 p.m. on May 4.

On that evening, a panel of local celebrity judges including NYU Langone’s Dr. Joan Gold as well as NYC Councilwoman Melinda Katz, 104.3’s disc jockey Jonathan Clark and New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser will choose one finalist in NYC from among those performing. The winner they select will be invited to go to Washington, D.C. on June 5th for the Grand Finale. There, they will compete with finalists from the other 14 tour cities for a cash prize and the title of American PABI Hero.

One sponsored PABI survivor will be Keith Zeier, a Reconnaissance Marine who served with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion and the Marine Special Operations Battalion. Zeier, 21, suffered a severe TBI as well as a leg injury at age 18 from an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion while serving in the Iraq War.

“The constant and severe pain that I suffer… serves now as a reminder of those great men with whom I’ve served and befriended,” Zeier stated. He will be present on May 4 during the musical portion of the American PABI Heroes Tour in New York City.

Tickets for the musical event are being sold in advance through TicketMaster at or they can be purchased for $10 at the door. For more information on the Sarah Jane Brain Project, visit or call (212) 201-0599.