Health officials estimate there are 260 people living in
Alleghany County suffering from long-term effects of brain
Injury Services of Southwest Virginia, a nonprofit organization
founded by Greg
and Fran Rooker of Radford, is
seeking to help those individuals access all levels of help that is
organization will hold an open house Sunday, March 15, at Alleghany
Regional Hospital from 3 to 6 p.m. At the open house, Kristen Beindorf, lead case manager for Brain
Injury Services of Southwest
Virginia, will provide information on forming a support group in the
support group will be established to bring together people who have
experienced brain injuries and provide a forum for self-expression
and encouragement. An experienced facilitator will be present at
support group will also help individuals navigate their way through
the complex human services system and access the resources they
"There is no one entity that focuses just on brain injuries. The
mental health services that are in place are not serving brain
injury people unless there is a dual diagnosis," said Helen Butler,
executive director of Brain Injury Services of Southwest
Butler said individuals coping with brain
injuries often suffer
physical, emotional and
cognitive impairments. She said cognitive problems are often
frustrating and difficult to overcome.
individuals often have problems with short-term memory and
sequencing events. They may have trouble with problem solving and
getting organized, she said.
noted that brain injury goes by many different names
— shaken baby syndrome, stroke,
concussion and head injury. The causes include physical assault, car
accidents, falls, drug overdoses, heart attacks, carbon monoxide
poisoning, meningitis and near strangulation
Injury Services has offices in Roanoke and Radford. It employs case
managers who can work with adults and children. The organization
also works with companies to help them understand the impact that
brain injuries have on people.
Rookers founded Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia in
2000 after their only son, Jason, died of a brain injury at age 11.
Brain Injury Services operates separately from the Jason Foundation,
which was also established by the Rookers in honor of their son. The
foundation helps provide information and support to families of
brain injury victims. The Jason Foundation provides financial
support to Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia.
2001, Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia began serving
the Roanoke and New River valleys. Its services were expanded into
the Mount Rogers region of Southwestern Virginia last October.
learn more, visit: www.bisswva.org, or www.jasonfoundation.org.