On May 28, PBS hosted their annual National Memorial Day Concert, honoring all the courageous men and women who have served our country – past and present. This year, PBS honored one of our own, Rebecca Vaudreuil, and the power of music therapy.

The program honored Captain Luis Avila, who sustained extensive injuries after an IED detonated while he was serving in Afghanistan in 2011. After awaking from a 40 day comatose state, Captain Avila suffered two strokes, two heart attacks, and a severe lack of oxygen that caused anoxic brain damage, leaving him completely paralyzed. Capt. Avila began the long road to recovery, undergoing physical, occupational, speech, and music therapies. Vaudreuil’s work of neurological music therapy with Capt. Avila has truly had a profound effect. Through songwriting, singing, playing the harmonica, and listening to all types of music, his mental state, muscle strength, motor skills, and breathing has improved. Music therapy is a proven rehabilitation tool, not only for Capt. Avila, but also numerous others who have served in the armed forces.

Neuroscientists, physicians, and board certified music therapists use cutting-edge treatments that aid recovery for a number of different war-related traumas – from amputations to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Music therapy offers services that include sensorimotor, physical, cognitive, and speech rehabilitation, pain management, and social, emotional and behavioral health interventions.

To learn more about Captain Avila’s story and the positive role music therapy has had, visit: