After being injured in Iraq, Josh struggled with everyday life. Diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI), he came to VA for help and says it has really made a difference.
When did you realize you had issues as a result of your service?
I served two tours in Iraq, Army Reserve, ’04-’05,’06-’07. As an IED hunter, you either find the explosive devices, the IEDs, or you get hit by them. Between October to March 15, when I got medevaced out, I had been hit eight different times. And it was actually my soldiers and squad leader who noticed I was slowly changing. You only can do so many concussions, and you just start not functioning right.
So, in theater, to get away from the war, I used to read books after mission, or whatnot, and it got to the point where I couldn’t even read a book because I couldn’t remember anything.
People didn’t really talk about traumatic brain injury at that time.
What happened then?
After being medevaced out… you know, my dad was a Vietnam Veteran and he really pushed to help me realize I needed to get in. And with the injuries I had, with the brain injury, VA was the only choice to really go to and get in the system and get help.
I was really pleased with the way the system was helping me out with my injuries and trying to help me recover from what I had gone through in Iraq.
What do they do for a brain injury? What’s the process they help you to improve?
With the traumatic brain injury, I would meet with the TBI groups and we would work on ways of how to help me communicate better or remember things better. I’ve done a lot of studies with the VA hospital and the University of Utah.
I’d sit in an MRI machine and they’d give me things in my hands to hold. The TV screen and things would flash, and they’d try to trace what part of my brain was having the issues.
To me, it was really neat to see the U of U Hospital and the VA system working together to try bettering our lives and make things, you know, studies to figure things out and how to make things better.
They bring those different doctors in to see you and do tests and everything. They brought me lunch which was really nice.
Is there anything else that you want to say about VA, about your care, about your recovery?
VA was just instrumental in helping me get my life back together. It’s a system that does work. Please get in and get the help.
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