As we approach the tenth anniversary of constant combat operations, I‘ve heard folks speak about the resiliency of service members in the face of multiple deployments against a determined enemy. War often toughens those who fight, and you learn to prepare for the worst at any moment, be it in training or in the Hindu Kush. But little in combat prepares you for the challenges that come with finding your footing back home, especially when faced with mental or physical injuries.

Alabama National Guard Lieutenant Antone Williams is a breathing example of perseverance. He suffered a concussion in a mortar attack in Afghanistan last year, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). During his recovery (and work with other wounded soldiers at the Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion at Ft. Benning), his house was destroyed by the tornados that swept through the south earlier this year. Instead of giving up, Lt. Williams said something I’ve heard a lot from folks deployed: “I’m blessed to have my life after what I’ve been through.”

When recovering from injuries, it’s easy to regress and stay indoors to avoid challenges of treatment. But getting out the house can be just as helpful as rehabilitation. Lt. Williams participated in Lima Foxtrot, a program for Veterans with TBI where they can be instructed on rock-wall climbing, scuba diving, shooting, archery, cycling, skiing and kayaking. I’m no doctor, but I can see the utility in fresh air and physical challenges this can provide.

Would this be helpful for everyone? I’m not sure, but I do know adventure therapy is gaining legitimacy as an effective tool to help wounded Veterans recover. It’s always helpful to look past the walls of a clinic or hospital to find what works best for you.

If you think you may have been subjected to a traumatic brain injury, check out symptoms and screening information to get some help at your local VA facility.

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4 Comments

  1. Tom September 6, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Alex,
    A forum on VA health care would be nice. No problems there. Greatest health care in the world. “we love our veterans” and my favorite ” wait and see treatment”. Health care is a vital human issue, promised to all combat, AO victims, wounded and SC veterans, it’s life or death. How’s the VA doing on that issue? What do the reports say?

  2. Charles T. Cauthen September 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Alex,
    I was killed in Vietnam, I just didn’t know it. Better to die in battle with my buddies, than at the hands of the VA.

    Charlie Cauthen
    173rd Airborne VN 69-70
    Agent Orange victim

  3. Hugo P. Marqart August 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I received a Statement for “Medical copay the amount is $9.00 plus,have lost it how do I go about paying what’s owed? The last 4 of my socail is 1884

  4. John Bankhead August 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

    This is a most informative article, our group would like to have more of these if possible. Veterans Who Care Informational Network, vwcin@yahoo.com.

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