There is Recovery from TBI: One Army Sergeant’s Story

Army SGT Amber (Greer) Brooks in June 2011 three months after her accident. The medical team had to shave off her waist-length strawberry blonde hair to access her skull and save her life.

“The big shock to me was ‘Why am I not at work? Why can’t I go to work? I don’t understand why I can’t be around people I served with.’” Army SGT Amber Greer said. “It was a huge shock to me and something that was so foreign to me. I probably cried for about a week that I couldn’t go to work.”

That’s how Greer described her struggle to recover from multiple injuries including Traumatic Brain Injury after a traffic accident in 2011.

Thankful for her recovery and hoping to encourage others  traveling the same path, Greer (now Amber Greer Brooks) sent me this recent update:

By Amber (Greer) Brooks

Recovering from any major trauma is extremely difficult and takes a lot of time and patience. I spent from March 20, 2011-August 17, 2011 in the hospital only to end up in one of the Army’s Warrior Transition Units (WTU).

These WTU’s are designed for soldiers to go to heal and transition either back into the Army or back into civilian life. Fortunately for me, the Army decided that I met the standards of being returned to the Army.

Since then, I have married a wonderful man and will be taking a new job in the Army.

I am leaving for training in January 2013 to work for the Army as a contractor. I will be signing and negotiating government contracts on behalf of the Department of the Army.

I have also scored the highest on my Physical Fitness Test (APFT) ever (even before the auto accident) with a perfect 300! 46 push ups in 2 minutes, 80 sit ups in two minutes, and running two miles in 14 minutes 51 seconds.

Anyone can achieve anything, it just takes a lot of focus, motivation, and never giving up.

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An Army SGT Recovering from TBI, Works to Stay in Uniform

A young Army sergeant who was selected to train as an explosives expert is now in a fight to stay in uniform.

Earlier this year, 22-year-old Army SGT Amber Greer was looking forward to settling in at her new post, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida’s panhandle and beginning training as an Explosives Ordinance Disposal (EOD) expert.

Army SGT Amber Greer helps show off Haley's new Polytrauma Unit equiped with flat screen TVs, private rooms and showers.

March 30th she was driving through a thunderstorm on I-10. Her vehicle hydroplaned. She lost control and hit a tree.

Greer was in a coma for eight days. When she awoke, it took a couple more weeks for her to grasp what happened.

“I literally felt like I was in some dream for a few weeks,” Greer said. “It was like – ‘I’m going to wake up and I’ll have my hair back,’ They had to shave my head for a procedure they had to do so I could live.”

Greer showed me a photo of her with strawberry blonde hair below her waist. But, hair grows back. She had a bigger worry right after her accident.

“The big shock to me was ‘why am I not at work? Why can’t I go to work? I don’t understand why I can’t be around people I served with.’” Greer said. “It was a huge shock to me and something that was so foreign to me. I probably cried for about a week that I couldn’t go to work.”

Greer is recovering at Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Hospital. She arrived with several skull fractures, Traumatic Brain Injury, three broken ribs, collapsed lungs and both hips fractured.

She’s expecting a 100 percent recovery and feels fortunate. Greer has been in the Army almost four years is a veteran of the Iraq war and also deployed to Kuwait from her first post in Hawaii.

Right now Greer’s fight is to stay in the Army.

“Due to my brain injury, I cannot do EOD anymore.” Greer said, confessing that her mother is relieved that she will not be an explosives disposal expert. Greer is disappointed but hopeful she will find another specialty. “I cannot be exposed to blast waves for the next year or so due to my injury, but that’s okay I’m going to be picking another new job in the Army and still staying in that uniform hopefully.”

I talked with Greer three days after she officially put back on her uniform more than 10 weeks after her accident.  She’s in Haley’s transition unit and volunteered to talk with reporters who came to the VA to cover the opening of a new Polytrauma Unit. Greer is anxious to help in any way she can.

“I absolutely love serving my country and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life,” Greer said that’s what got her out of bed every morning and into rehab.

I share Greer’s story because it goes to the heart of who is serving in our country’s military ranks – young women and men of courage, determination and dedication to their country.

Here’s hoping Greer’s wish of a full recovery and staying in uniform comes true.

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