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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

Family, community support, adaptive equipment let wounded warrior continue enjoying hunting

Friday, November 30, 2012

(Photo)
Sgt. Edmundson in Iraq not long before his injury.
(Courtesy photo)
CULBERTSON, Nebraska -- Eric Edmundson suffered traumatic brain injury and nearly lost his life in an IED attack in Iraq in 2005, but the dedication of his parents, generosity of veteran support groups and individuals, as well as the skill of specialized medical and rehabilitation staff members have allowed him to return to his favorite sport of hunting.

Granted, he hunts from specialized vehicles and with special adaptive technology, but his current trip is enough to turn an outdoorsman green with envy. He's stalked whitetail deer in South Carolina, ram in Iowa, mule deer in Montana, wolf and coyote in Idaho and turkey in Nebraska.

Eric, 32, lives in Newburn, North Carolina with his wife, Stephanie, and daughters Gracie, nearly 8, and Hunter, 2, and with the help of his parents, Ed and Beth Edmunson, who took leaves of absence from his job at ConAgra and her job with the state of North Carolina, to help their son and his young family recover from his wounds.

(Photo)
Eric and his parents with his ATV and adaptive hunting gear.
Hunting from a side-by-side ATV gives Eric a chance to concentrate on something other than himself by enjoying the thrill of the hunt in the out-of-doors.

Their stop in Culbertson gave them a chance to visit with Ed's brother and family, Roy and Ellen Edmundson and daughter, Cathy.

Eric was a sergeant in the Army when the Stryker vehicle he was driving to the aid of another vehicle struck an improvised vehicle in the stream bed being followed to avoid just such attacks.

(Photo)
Eric Edmundson visits with relatives and supporters during a visit to Trenton on Sunday. They include, from left, his aunt Ellen Edmundson of Trenton and his parents, Ed and Beth, Eric Graff, front left, Dennis Fahrenbruch, center, Jon and Ronda Graff, back right, and cousin Cathy Edmunson, front right.
(Bruce Crosby/McCook Daily Gazette)
The device exploded just behind his seat, lifting the armored vehicle into the air, breaking bones and rupturing his spleen as well as giving him a traumatic brain injury.

While he was evacuated immediately, he suffered a heart attack at one point in his treatment, suffering from a lack of oxygen for about 30 minutes.

"He was quite ill when he got to Walter Reed (National Medical Center in Washington D.C.)" Ed said. While there are many non-profit organizations willing and ready to help injured soldiers, Ed said, the need is great. Not all injuries are as obvious as Eric's, Ed said, with many suicides among returning soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

But the wide array of services available to injured veterans has made a difference, Ed said, crediting the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for much of Eric's progress.

Besides hunting, Eric, who uses a communications device, spends much time speaking to schools and other groups about his experiences and the need for understanding support for the returning injured veterans and their families.

"He doesn't have disabilities, he has challenges," Ed said.

Read more at http://www.ric.org/about/stories/eric-ed... or http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/17601...


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