President Obama addresses Concussions
Outside the Lines (aired Nov. 4, from Monday Night Football interview)
President Barack Obama talks about studying the long-lasting impacts of concussions.
Saratoga, N.Y., famous for its historic racetrack, is among the most idyllic places in America. But on a recent fall weekend, not far from the track, horses were serving a different mission: retired thoroughbreds were recruited to help returning veterans at Song Hill Farm. A group from the US Army 2nd Battalion, 135th infantry, united in grief over the death of a fellow solider, gathered for the first time in five years to be part of Saratoga Warhorse, a three-day program that pairs veterans with horses. Tom Rinaldireports the emotional story of the veterans, paired with their horses, undergoing a rebirth of trust and taking a first step toward healing.
“It just completely shut me down. I went from a happy 18-year-old kid to a 20-year-old man that really didn’t want to do anything, didn’t want to be anywhere, didn’t want anybody to ask me about any good experiences in Iraq or any bad experiences. It just completely took my life and did a 180 with it.” — Former specialist e4 TJ Hawkins, U.S. Army Infantry, on his reaction to the death of his friend
“If you come here, we know you’re struggling. We know that you’re shut down. I’m not here to fix anyone. But I am here to give them an experience that can change their life.” -- Bob Nevins, Vietnam veteran of 101st Airborne, who runs the Saratoga Warhorse program
Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez made his first collegiate reception earlier this season — a four-yard catch during the Tigers’ blowout victory over Ball State – which drew a standing ovation for the 24-year old walk-on. Rodriguez got his chance to play after serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Army. Following 2009’s Battle of Kamdesh against Taliban forces, he earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, but he also saw eight fellow soldiers killed in the attack. After facing life-and-death struggles in war, Rodriguez owns a perspective unlike other college football players. Tom Rinaldi reports.
“You know, we don’t have any clothes, we don’t have anything. Everything’s on fire. We’re bleeding out of every body part. You know, it was just you, the bullets you have left in your rifle, and the guys that survived it with you. And all of you all have the same expressions on your faces, like, what the hell just happened?” – Daniel Rodriguez,after 2009’s Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan
“Every one of those guys that were killed that day, I had a relationship with. It’s tough. It’s tough thinking about it, but I know they’re all here with me in spirit. I just feel that everything I do, I just want my buddies that were killed just looking down on me and saying, ‘Hey man, keep up the good work.'” – Rodriguez
For war veterans, recovery is not only about physical rehabilitation; it’s about healing mentally and spiritually. And one military veteran is helping soldiers do just that through the sport of fly fishing. Chris Connelly reports on how Project Healing Waters is helping some veterans find a new tranquility and camaraderie.
“You look up and you see a guy with either no legs or one leg or missing an arm, and his young wife there or baby. I mean, it tugs at your heart string. You’d have to be as hard as nails not to feel great empathy. And, it was just a thought in my mind, in a small way: how could I help a couple of people?” – retired Capt. Ed Nicholson, U.S. Navy, founder of Project Healing Waters
“Two trips it took me to change my life, turn me around 180 degrees. This took me out of my shell. It cracked the egg.” – retired Sgt. Rick Trowbridge, U.S. Army, on participating in Project Healing Waters