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NEWS | May 17, 2023

Injured Soldier says trying new things helped keep his sanity

By MaryTherese Griffin Army

One doesn’t think knitting is something a Soldier does, but they don’t know Staff Sgt. Brent Fox of our Fort Campbell Soldier Recovery Unit. He is a Soldier through and through, athletic and always busy. And for the record knitting was not part of his life until recent months. A traffic accident at Fort Bliss on his birthday October 17, 2021, changed his life forever.

“I had been at Fort Bliss for about six months, and I walked all the time but on this particular day it was my birthday and I got offered a ride, so I accepted. We got in an accident at the one stop light between my office and my house.” Someone ran the stop light and hit Fox’s side of the vehicle, injuring his back severely.

Fox went through three months of physical therapy and a month of strength training at Fort Bliss before coming to the Fort Campbell SRU in June of 2022. “They showed me more ways to improve my health. To include art, adaptive sports, and nutrition,” said the combat engineer in his twelfth year in the Army. He is still dealing with back pain and learns daily the setbacks from it. “Some days my wife has to help me get out of bed and get dressed. It’s been tough. I was used to always picking my boys up and throwing them around to play. My wife is helpful and constantly reminding me I can’t do that anymore.”

Fox says he put on over thirty pounds after the accident because of his limitations. “I’ve always been active, but I simply ate a lot and didn’t improve my eating habits. It went downhill pretty fast. I was very pleased to learn about all the opportunities and different ways I could do things to my comfort level at the SRU,” says Fox.

Fox knew he had to keep his sanity so any activity he could do he did.
“I’ve never knitted before. There were so many hands-on opportunities at the Fort Campbell SRU, and I did pretty much everything they offered. I started out making scarves and headbands and even sold a few of them. So, to keep from losing my mind I needed to start doing,” said Fox who also owns a land scaping business. The creativity was always there he says, but he learned how to pull more creativity out at the SRU.

“I’ve made pine needle baskets from pine needles I collected off the ground, and I learned Origami,” he says with a grin.

He says as a Christian he puts his faith in God and knows when he gets that feeling he needs to trust it. “I’m not going to lie, when I get into the car, I don’t always wear my seat belt and for some reason I got this feeling to put my seat belt on that day and within 15 seconds we got hit.”

He finds the silver lining, as painful as it may be today, but shared that his friend who offered the ride to get him to work quicker than walking had to make a stop first for a few minutes. That stop he says could have saved his life. The few minutes in the car ride that delayed the trip put him where he would’ve been had he been walking.

“If I had been walking through that intersection and the car ran the red light I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Thankful for the variety of adaptive reconditioning programs the SRU offers Fox says future Soldiers who are injured or ill should embrace every opportunity.

“If you do have a need for the SRU get as involved as you can with the art program, try everything. You never know what you’re going to like and how it will help. You might enjoy it and you get to keep your sanity.”