Bob Woodruff After Traumatic Brain Injury
ABC News journalist Bob Woodruff talks about his recovery from a traumatic brain injury he received in Iraq.
Despite his injuries, Woodruff counts his blessings. The rocks narrowly
missed the major arteries in his neck. "I am hugely lucky," he says.
The near-death experience has given Woodruff a new perspective. "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 ... 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.
"I don’t know what would have happened to me without my friends and family,"
Paying it Forward
Today, Woodruff is an advocate for soldiers who have sustained traumatic
brain injuries - the signature injury of the Iraq war. He started the Bob
Woodruff Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission of providing
resources and support for injured service members, veterans, and their
It is estimated that more than 320,000 U.S. service members have sustained
traumatic brain injuries, according to the Foundation's web site.
Soldiers’ bodies are often better protected than in bygone wars. Their
protective gear may save their lives, but it doesn't rule out brain damage, as
Woodruff knows firsthand. "If this was five years earlier, I would be dead," he
The effects of traumatic brain injuries can linger. 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. And he has a message for people with traumatic brain injuries: "There is
hope and there is recovery."