FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bicycling is once again part of John Goubeaux's life. The Air Force veteran, who served for 24 years, cycled frequently with his wife Vicky until a traumatic brain injury turned his life upside down.
After retiring from service, John started a career as a civilian safety officer. While working in the sweltering summer heat, John fell from a vehicle, landing on concrete eight feet below. John fractured his collarbone and slammed his head on the pavement. The impact caused a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and bleeding on his brain. As his brain swelled, doctors decided to remove a portion of his skull. They kept that part in a special freezer for 10 weeks while they waited for the swelling to subside.
"My TBI left me with a loss of taste and smell, short-term memory loss, vertigo, vision issues, constant headaches, weakness in my left arm and leg, and heightened post-traumatic stress and depression," John said.
John leaned on prescribed medication to cope with his pain. Then he discovered Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) through a TV commercial for the veterans service organization around Thanksgiving.
"I saw individuals struggling like me. Vicky took me to the Wounded Warrior Project office in Fayetteville, North Carolina, so I could find out about meeting other warriors, without judgment or pressure."
Through a number of WWP program events, John and Vicky connected with other warrior families, which helped his recovery and strengthened their bond.
One of the WWP gatherings also turned out to be life-changing for John. He took part in Soldier Ride® – joining 50 other warriors to ride more than 34 miles through Northeast Florida over two days.
"It was inspiring. No amount of money could bring the experience that Wounded Warrior Project brought me."
Activities like riding a bicycle and socializing with other veterans can help injured warriors cope with stress and emotional concerns. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn veterans to address their mental health issues, and 29.6 percent expressed physical activity helps.
While the experience brought John dozens of new friends, it also awoke a past passion. With the help of WWP, John and Vicky are riding again and seeing the health results. When he first started, John said he could only walk or ride for about 14 minutes before his blood pressure spiked too high.
"Now, thanks to Wounded Warrior Project, I can ride the recumbent stationary bike for an hour, burn 400 calories, and my blood pressure doesn't go above 130," he said.
Read more about John's journey and how WWP has him and Vicky riding in style at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP connects wounded warriors and their families to valuable resources and one another, serves them through a variety of free programs and services, and empowers them to live life on their own terms. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project