Voices: Bryan's Story
The following was written about Bryan, a post-9/11 Iraq combat Marine.
Bryan enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2004. In 2006, he went to fight for our country in Iraq. Luckily, that year, Bryan survived not one, but two improvised explosive device (IED) blasts.
Bryan, who was the driver of the Humvee during one of the explosions, suffered the worst injuries of the four Marines in the vehicle. He was knocked unconscious from the impact of the bomb and, while being treated in the field, a military doctor conducted an emergency tracheotomy and nicked one of Bryan's arteries. Bryan also had shattered his pelvis, which caused him to bleed internally. On the verge of death, Bryan underwent a 6 unit blood transfusion, and nobody thought he would make it out of his medically-induced coma alive.
Two-and-a-half weeks later, Bryan woke up. He was told by doctors that his dream of serving in the military was over. The chances of Bryan ever walking "normally" again were close to zero and he was told he'd suffer from this accident for the rest of his life. He said his dreams literally shattered right before his eyes.
Bryan never gave up. He was determined to beat the odds the doctors gave him and, so far, he's done his best to achieve that goal. Bryan still struggles every day with Post-traumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the pain from his physical injuries. But, none the less, Bryan still pushes forward. He learned to walk on his own again. He has dedicated his life to physical therapy and he never misses a day at the gym. After the accident, Bryan was barely able to stand on his own two feet and weighed 120 lbs. He is currently walking independently and currently weighs in at a very healthy, muscular 230 lbs.
Bryan strives each day to help others. He has been an inspirational speaker, speaking to school shooting victims, middle school students, and at open events, among others. He works as a trainer at a gym and is a mixed martial arts coach, trying his hardest to help people achieve their goals.
Written by Paige Matis, Bryan's girlfriend
Bryan has also been a bouncer at night clubs, went to the fire academy, threw out the ceremonial opening pitch in 2012 for the Cleveland Indians, and was even the Grand Marshall in his hometown parade. Bryan tries to accomplish everything he puts his mind to if he knows it will benefit someone. Although Bryan may struggle from the aftermath of the accident, he never let his injuries limit him.
Bryan has put all focus and attention into his new dream and reality--his book. He wrote this book partially as therapy for himself and partially to inspire others to trust that the unbelievable is always possible. In his book, Bryan talks about his dream to grow up and be in the military, the enlistment and boot camp processes, being deployed and injured, his recovery, and the inspirational things he has done during his recovery!