President Trump, traumatic brain injuries aren’t just ‘headaches’

Former Navy SEAL and Senate sergeant-at-arms Frank Larkin, who lost his son Ryan to suicide, hands President Donald Trump a bracelet with his son

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Losing a sense of self is an insidious reality of brain injury. It’s a purgatory of living in a mental fog, struggling with solutions for everyday issues, inability to navigate emotional control, headaches and more. At its most transient, the injury is a simple concussion where symptoms are mercifully fleeting as the brain recovers relatively fast, as if from a bruise. But where the damage is lasting, there can be tragedies like Ryan Larkin.

Tormented by changes in his brain after suffering blast exposures serving as a Navy SEAL in Iraq and Afghanistan, he took his life at 29 at his parents’ home in 2017. “Every day, Ryan suffered from a headache and struggled to understand what was wrong with him,” his father, Frank, wrote in a letter last month to President Donald Trump

Frank Larkin is a former SEAL and retired sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. Senate. Ryan was his only son. Larkin’s letter of concern to Trump was in response to dismissive remarks the president made about blast-related brain injury.

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