When Stovall met Josh Wells in November 2010, the damage from his time with Alpha Company, 91st Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, in Iraq from January 2004 to March 2005 had already been done, his brain forever changed by multiple IED blasts he sustained throughout his deployment. As she’s fallen in love with the wounded warrior, rather than getting upset when Wells forgets something, a symptom of his traumatic brain injury, the flight test engineer for Redstone Test Center has learned to be understanding of the challenges Wells will face his entire life.
“I know it’s something that’ll be a permanent part of our life, and it’ll be difficult on occasion, but it’s workable,” Stovall said. “You have to keep reminding yourself that it’s not the person’s fault they can’t remember things. There’s going to be issues, but if you keep remembering that there’s a cause to it, and it’s not just because he’s a guy, then it makes it a little more workable.”
It’s not just the Soldier or individual who experiences the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury, but the family and friends that surround them as well, who have to learn to cope when their loved one is forgetful, can’t concentrate or find the right words, is anxious, depressed, irritable or prone to mood swings, all symptoms of a traumatic brain injury.
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