Injured Veteran’s Family Met Their Inspiration at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
U.S. Army Sergeant Eric Edmundson was severely injured during his deployment near the Iraq/Syria border in 2005. Though he survived, his brain was injured, limiting his ability to speak and walk. He would require years of determined rehabilitation, but his injuries did not stop him from living his life as a loving father.
Edmundson, his wife and their two children, Hunter (8) and Gracie (14) of New Bern, North Carolina, have bonded over the inspiration they found through Winter the Dolphin’s story in the Dolphin Tale movies. On Friday, April 12, 2019, Edmundson and his family visited Winter and Hope, the rescued dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium for a special experience together.
In 2005 — the same year Winter was injured and rescued — Sergeant Edmundson was injured during his army deployment when the shrapnel of an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated under his vehicle. The explosion ruptured his spleen, broke his patella, fractured his vertebrae and caused him to sustain a traumatic brain injury. While waiting to be transported to a hospital, Edmundson was without a pulse for 30 minutes, causing him to also sustain an anoxic brain injury. The injuries left Edmundson unable to speak or walk, although his cognitive skills remained completely intact.
Recovery Through Rehabilitation and Support
Edmundson was determined to not only survive with traumatic and anoxic brain injuries but live his life to the fullest and make a difference for others. Through hard work and years of rehabilitation, as well as family and community support, Edmundson is able to communicate through a computer device and has regained some control of his hands now. He is also able to occasionally rise and walk a few feet out of his specially equipped wheelchair.
As a means for therapy and for providing support to his fellow wounded soldiers, Edmundson has learned how to paint with the help of a device that allows him to hold a brush. The proceeds from the paintings Edmundson creates are given to help his fellow vets have meaningful and healing experiences.
“Eric’s ability to be a loving father was not affected by the horrific incident overseas,” says his father Ed Edmundson. “The Dolphin Tale movies and Winter’s story has been an inspiration and a common bond for our family throughout our journey.”