U.S. Army Sgt. Brent Nadjdi is recovering at Womack Medical Center from injuries he sustained while on duty in Afghanistan.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. | When Army Spc. Corey Crowe decided to check on his buddy, Sgt. Brent Nadjadi, injured after their vehicle was destroyed in Afghanistan, he got the shock of his life.
Up ahead, in Fort Bragg’s Womack Medical Center corridor, Crowe thought he saw his injured friend walking toward him – just a week after the Sept. 13th bomb explosion that shattered Nadjadi’s legs and feet.
Crowe had made the same mistake others have made in the past, confusing Brent with his identical twin Derick – who was on his way to get his badly injured brother a milkshake.
While Crowe and the real Brent Nadjadi – loaded down with plaster casts and in bed – had a laugh about the mix-up, it may be a few months before the injured sergeant fetches any one a milkshake.
There are many who say the 22-year-old Bath native is lucky to have survived the impact of the 300-pound homemade bomb that exploded directly under him in the backseat of his vehicle during a routine patrol in Konar Province.
Najadi and the three other soldiers in the vehicle were injured by the blast, with Crowe sustaining a broken back and leg. Nadjadi and Crowe were airlifted to Womack Medical Center, while one soldies returned to duty.
Crowe later told Nadjadi’s mother, Karen Causer, they were deeply worried about their sergeant’s condition after the blast.
“He told me Brent was just unconscious for such a long time,” Causer said. “Corey said that really scared them.”
Nadjadi said this week the first thing he remembers about the accident is being airlifted to U.S. Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. After preliminary treatments, he was flown to Womack Medical Center at Fort Bragg for more treatment.
Since then he has been fitted with a back brace to heal his spinal fracture, with casts put on his shattered legs. His broken jaw was wired shut and his communication largely confined to e-mails.
A week after his arrival at Womack, he underwent what is likely to be the first of many surgeries on his feet – an 8.5-hour operation by two surgeons.
“The doctor said it went as well as expected, but (it) was one of the worst cases he had seen since I had so many fragments of bone misplaced,” Nadjadi wrote during an e-mail interview. “I have a lot of ‘hardware’ screws and plates in both feet now and can't put any pressure on them for three months.”
More surgery is expected after three months has passed, he said.
But he isn’t just lying in bed, Nadjadi said. In addition to leg lifts, kicks and bends, Nadjadi and his fiancée, Sarah Osborne have worked out a system to get him into his wheelchair for a stroll.
“Everyday we see me improving!” he wrote.
His return home to a village that considers him a local hero is up in the air.
But Nadjadi said he isn’t a hero.
The guys and I just rely on each other to complete the missions,” he wrote. “(It) gives us a better chance of getting everyone home safely.”