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"I don’t know what would have happened to me without my friends and family," Woodruff says.Today, Woodruff is an advocate for soldiers who have sustained traumatic brain injuries - the signature injury of the Iraq war. service members have sustained traumatic brain injuries, according to the Foundation's web site.
Soldiers and other people who sustain traumatic brain injury are more likely to experience emotional issues, including posttraumatic stress disorder, divorce, homelessness, seizures, and vision and hearing loss.
"Traumatic brain injuries have never gotten this much attention," Woodruff says.
Upon waking up, "I could not remember my family members' names," Woodruff recalls. His operations included the removal of part of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain.
Before going to Iraq, "I never had surgery other than dental surgery and a lot of stitches as a result of being raised with brothers," he tells Web MD.
"I couldn’t come up with words and I didn’t have a lot of synonyms," he says.
"It was hugely frustrating." The effects of his injury are still apparent.Woodruff also suffered from aphasia, the inability to find words.Aphasia is caused by damage to one or more brain areas that handle language.Woodruff occasionally has difficulty finding words or synonyms.He is blind in the upper quarter of both of eyes, and he has lost 30% of his hearing in one ear and 10% in the other ear.but I think he loves me more than he did before," he recalls her saying.Woodruff credits much of his recovery to love and support of his family and friends, which he and his wife wrote about in their book, In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing.Julie Woodruff joined Saint Francis Medical Center in 1998 and served as Operating Room Manager before being named Surgical Services Director in 2016.She was named Chief Nursing Officer in December 2017."I have realized how short of a time we all have on this earth," he says.His daughter put it best when she told her mother, "Daddy has so many scars on his back and rocks in his face, and daddy doesn’t have words ...