2LT William "Bill" Padilla
While stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany, 2LT Padilla suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He spent a month in a coma at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and then was sent to Fitzsimons Army Hospital where he spent the next seven months.
2Lt Padilla was medically retired from the Army in August 1979 and was awarded a 100% service connected disability from the Veterans Administration. He has spent the last 32 years recovering from that traumatic brain injury.
The Healing Process
Progress was rapid during the first year after the injury, but then it slowed and was complicated by mental problems. People perceived Bill as being dim-witted or uncouth. Mental turbulence continually set him back. His delicate mental balance was easily upset by mildly complex events. He endured much frustration and subsequent depressions in his attempt to continue a social life and his dream of pursuing journalism.
Before Bill entered the Army he had spent a lot of time hunting professionally and guiding hunters in his home state of Wyoming. The injury he had sustained in Germany had pretty much stripped him of his hunting skills.
Hunting turned out to be the vehicle by which Bill started on his long road of recovery. Through his own experience with disability, Bill recognized the rehabilitating effect hunting can have on an individual.
Bill's hunting experiences with other disabled hunters provided the basis for his book, "Hunting the Comeback Trail, Revised". The book chronicles the lives of six hunters to include Bill.
Each chapter in the book tells the story of an individual who loves to hunt, how they became handicapped and what they have done since.