TAMPA, Fla. – He lies flat, unseeing eyes fixed on the ceiling, tubes and machines feeding him, breathing for him, keeping him alive. He cannot walk or talk, but he can grimace and cry. And he is fully aware of what has happened to him.
Four years ago almost to this day, Joseph Briseno Jr. was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range in a Baghdad marketplace. His spinal cord was shattered, and cardiac arrests stole his vision and damaged his brain.
He is one of the most severely injured soldiers â€” some think the most injured soldier â€” to survive.
“Three things you would not want to be: blind, head injury, and paralyzed from the neck down. That’s tough,” said Dr. Steven Scott, head of the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center at the Tampa VA Medical Center.