Military Families Cope with Traumatic Brain Injury

Military Families Cope with Traumatic Brain Injury

Soldiers' wives struggle to care for their 'minimally conscious' husbands who were severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. (NJ Star-Ledger)

Military wives have to be tough, but nothing could have prepared RyAnne Noss and Ivonne Thompson for what it would mean to them when their husbands came back from war zones with traumatic brain injuries. Both men were severely injured and rendered “minimally conscious” — Noss from a helicopter crash in Afghanistan and Thompson from a truck bomb explosion in Iraq. Three years later, the men are awake and aware, but unable to communicate. Their wives have bonded in tragedy, and now work together to care for their husbands and find them treatment. Ultimately, their search for experimental and intensive therapies led them to the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J, one the leading research facilities for traumatic brain injury.

This heart-wrenching video from the Star-Ledger follows the women as they work to break through to their husbands through any means possible. Even rudimentary communication, such as “yes” and “no” to simple questions would be a huge accomplishment for the otherwise unresponsive patients. The camera views both couples in intimate moments of joy and sorrow, and underscores the lifetime commitment to service that military spouses may be asked to make along with their partners.

CHANNEL: New Jersey Star-Ledger

Video by Nyier Abdou

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