Living with a traumatic brain injury
Army veteran and DAV member Alex Hussey was severely disabled after stepping on an improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Aug. 7, 2012. Alex sustained a traumatic brain injury and lost both legs, most of his left hand and part of his right hand. His then-fiancée, Kim, wasn’t sure if he’d survive, let alone ever speak again.
So when the Army veteran gradually woke from a coma and uttered his first words, it was “amazing,” Kim Hussey recalled.
At just 20 years old, Kim went from college student to caregiver. That journey began at a hospital in Germany, where she learned on-site from nurses and doctors about Alex’s daily care needs, and continued when the couple returned home two years later.
A decade on, Kim says being a caregiver to her husband is part of who she is. “It’s part of who I’ve become,” she said. Kim has remained dedicated to caring for her husband since his injury.
Due to his disabilities, Alex needs help with day-to-day activities, including showering, getting dressed, getting in and out of a wheelchair and taking medication. He needs transportation to physical therapy and medical appointments, and he can’t be left alone. But with DAV's help, he's reaching new heights through adaptive sports.
In 2019, Alex and Kim attended the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic co-presented by DAV and the VA in Snowmass, Colorado. The annual event—known as “Miracles on a Mountainside”—allows disabled veterans to participate in adaptive sports such as skiing, rock climbing and sled hockey.
“DAV’s Winter Sports Clinic is about empowering veterans like Alex to thrive in the face of formidable challenges, and supporting caregivers like Kim is an extension of that mission,” said National Adjutant Marc Burgess. “It’s why we pushed for the expansion of caregiver benefits and why we will continue to fight for them. Kim and Alex show just how game-changing that kind of support can be, both for the veteran and the caregiver.”
True to their nature, the couple takes these life challenges in stride.
“We definitely adapt and overcome,” Kim said. “At the end of the day, we’re just a married couple. And yeah, my life might be a little bit more challenging, but I feel like everybody has their challenges. These just happen to be our challenges.”
Many National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic participants have also sustained service-connected traumatic brain injuries as well as other forms of illness or injury. Your support helps disabled veterans and their caregivers, like Alex and Kim Hussey, overcome these life challenges with dignity and respect.
Please give today to assist our nation’s heroes and their caregivers through DAV.