Permanent Injuries do NOT mean permanent situations

Permanent Injuries do NOT mean permanent situations
By MaryTherese Griffin, Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. – – Scary but true, we’ve all probably been there in a car either as the driver or passenger. Road fatigue, sleepiness, or a wandering mind and then you feel the rumble strips of the road. That’s what happened to Sgt. Mathew Robinson on June 18, 2016.

“I was injured in Almaville, Tennessee as a passenger in a car. We were driving on Interstate 840, the driver fell asleep, and when we hit the rumble strip-he woke up, overcorrected and we started to roll multiple times,” said Robinson.

Robinson hit his head on the pavement about 5 or 6 times and sustained five fractures to his skull, a broken ear bone, a fractured C2 vertebra, punctured lung, broken ribs and a traumatic brain injury.

The Combat Engineer in the Tennessee National Guard was headed down a new road, the road to recovery thanks to the Fort Campbell Warrior Transition Battalion. It would take him a while, a few side turns to reach the WTB which began at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, seven months inpatient at the Veteran Administration Hospital in Tampa, Florida and the last 13 months at the Fort Campbell WTB.

His outlook was grim from the beginning as he was given only a 5% chance of survival. By the time he reached the WTB, he knew he had a choice. Accept his fate or fight it. According to his Physical Therapist Lindsey Davison, the fight was on. “They told him he had a 5% chance of survival and now he is running, sprinting and trying with all his might to jump and is undergoing the Medical Evaluation Board to determine if he can remain in the army,” said Davison.

After being in a medical device commonly known as a halo to manage spinal injuries and to minimize neurological damage for two months, several months in a wheelchair and having to reset everything to start working again, Robinson made a positive discovery about himself after observing others in the fight. “I hate to see Soldiers who aren’t accepting the injury and just sit in the same hole. The injury does not define you and it is only temporary, not permanent,” said Robinson.

“In many circumstances injury leads to more open doors and more opportunities to grow, learn and develop in ways that weren’t there prior to injury. I advise soldiers to take a lesson from Sgt. Robinson: don’t let anyone tell you “no”-work hard, try hard and overcome,” Davison added.

The physical processing of the recovery and learning the new norm was quite irritating to Robinson in the beginning and then it became easy around the 4th month when he began having fun by participating in the programs and opportunities at the Fort Campbell WTB.

“Enjoy the process of recovery because if you enjoy the process it is a lot easier to accept the reality of the injuries,” said Robinson.

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub ( The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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