Just last week, 21-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Kevin Mowl was in Baghdad providing security to the city. Now, he's in the ICU at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Last Thursday, an IED exploded near his vehicle. He now suffers from a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures to parts of his body.
Dr. Mark Livecchi is a neurologist with the Unity Health System. He says traumatic brain injuries are common especially in veterans returning from war.
"The ability to save soldiers now had exponentially increased in the last 20 years. We're finding soldiers returning with more brain injuries now that perhaps would've expired in the earlier Iraq conflict in the early 90's," said Livecchi.
According to the Neuro-Optometric Center of Excellence, about 3,000 veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from traumatic brain injury.
"Traumatic brain injury is when the brain is insulted by high velocity and high force. Parts of the brain are more predisposed to injury than others," said Livecchi.
Livecchi says the Mowls can expect extensive rehabilitation, possibly for the rest of Kevin's life.
Kevin’s father, Dr. Harold Mowl is the Superintendent of the Rochester School for the Deaf. He, his wife and daughter flew to Maryland this week to be with Kevin. Dr. Mowl has been sending us daily updates on Kevin's condition.
On Tuesday Dr. Mowl wrote: "He was off sedation very briefly this morning, responded to voices, and moved his arm a bit. He will have surgery to fix his left arm tomorrow. This will be the first of several surgeries to fix the broken bones in his body."
Children from the Rochester School for the Deaf where Kevin's father is the Superintendent have been making get well cards for Kevin.