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By: Sarah Wade - Ted's wife
My husband, Ted, joined the Army during the summer of 2000, and following the attacks of September 11, he was called on to serve first in Afghanistan and later Iraq. On February 14, 2004, his humvee was hit by a bomb on a mission in Al Mahmudiyah. Ted sustained a severe brain injury, his right arm was amputated above the elbow, suffered a fractured leg, a broken foot, shrapnel injuries, and other complications. He remained in a coma for over 2 months, during which he was medically retired from the Army.
Ted pulled through and made a remarkable recovery, thanks to a few miracles, a lot of resolve, and an unbelievable supporting cast. His hurried transition from the military, though, had separated him from his social support network. He had been left to assimilate into the civilian world, while learning to negotiate his injuries, with little direction. What I initially feared was a recipe for disaster, turned out to be the start of a new adventure.
While Ted was still in intensive care at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, I was fortunate to meet a few Soldiers returning from an adaptive sports trip to Colorado. My husband had learned to ski as a teenager and been in love with the sport ever since. Listening to their stories gave me a renewed sense of hope, that he would one day have the opportunity to do the same, if he just kept fighting.
After two long and difficult years of rehabilitation, Ted was finally given the approval by his doctor to ski again. I had made the promise to Ted, when he achieved this goal, I would learn as well. We were fortunate to meet Joel Berman at a Disabled Sports USA event, and he extended an invitation for us to join Adaptive Adventures one of their ski camps in Colorado. It was the turning point in our journey.
Adaptive skiing provided Ted a sense of accomplishment he had not felt since the injury. Giving him the tools to master something he dearly loved before, and thought he would never do again, motivated him to achieve more in his rehabilitation when he returned home. For me it offered an escape from the mounds of government paperwork, endless hours of driving my husband to appointments, and allowed me to enjoy being a part of his recovery.
Most importantly, Adaptive Adventures provided Ted with the social support he had lost, when he was so abruptly uprooted from the military. Joel Berman and Matt Feeney not only took him in as family, and introduced him to a different community, but offered the guidance he needed to overcome his new challenges, and taught him to be proud of these achievements. I cannot imagine where our lives would be now had Adaptive Adventures not helped us find our way.