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Camp Pendleton Marine Veteran Achieves Goals with Brain Injury

August 5, 2019

Mario Sanders, United States Marine Veteran receives support from SDCE’s Acquired Brain Injury programTraumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability among children and adults in the nation. The Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) noncredit/non-fee classes at San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) support people recovering from such ABIs as brain trauma, stroke/aneurysm, brain tumor, brain infection and anoxia.

SDCE’s ABI program is led by faculty who have expertise in the field of brain injury including speech pathologists, rehabilitation counselors, recreation therapists and counselors.

Mario Sanders, United States Marine Veteran, enrolled in SDCE’s ABI program after suffering a severe motor vehicle collision in 2016. He remembered the military as fast-paced, “you have to be quick on your feet. There is no time to sit back and think you have to be reactive or people could possibly die.” He explained nowadays his memory and thinking skills are delayed. He needs extra time for everyday activities such as walking and taking exams.

SDCE’s ABI curriculum equips students with the tools needed to achieve daily tasks and long-term goals to support their transition back into career and education. Classes emphasize rebuilding a sense of self through cognitive retraining, personal development, communication, academic skills, vocational exploration, coping strategies, creativity development and advocacy awareness.

Following the accident Sanders was transferred from serving as active duty to the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendleton, where he learned about SDCE’s free ABI program during therapy.

 “If I hadn't discovered this program, I don’t think I would be as accepting with my brain injury as I am now,” said Sanders. “When I was discharged from the hospital, I believed school was definitely not for me anymore. I’m now attending San Diego Miramar College, something I never would have done.”

Sanders is dually enrolled at San Diego Miramar College and will complete an Associate in Arts in Kinesiology for Transfer Degree.

In addition to changing lives in the classroom, students, faculty and administrators of SDCE’s ABI program raised almost $20,000 for the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation (SDBIF) during their 12th annual surviveHEADSTRONG Walk for Recovery in spring 2019. The yearly fundraiser promotes public awareness and social advocacy regarding brain-injury and provides support, education and resources to brain-injury survivors and their family members and caregivers. SDCE has raised over $190,000 since the inception of SDBIF’s campaign back in 2008.

SDCE’s ABI classes are open-entry/open-exit, students can enroll at any time. Classes take place at Educational Cultural Complex in Mountain View and at CE-Mesa in Clairmont.

Allura Garis