The military is in his blood. Kyle Cornwell had always intended to serve. His father was in the Air Force. His older brother, Ryan, was killed in a car accident when Kyle was a boy. Shortly after enlisting in the Army, Cornwell cross-trained to join the Air Force, where he served in the military police for three years, before becoming a medic stationed in Iraq.
In 2010 Cornwell was riding in a convoy when a Humvee detonated an improvised explosive device, or IED. While he was he was outside his vehicle assessing the damage, a second IED was tripped a few feet away. The force of the blast threw him into the Humvee with such impact the entire right side of his body was crushed; most bones were broken, there was traumatic face and brain injury, and Cornwell was blinded in his right eye.
“I remember the blast, and not much else. Afterwards, the worst part was my head. I kept having these attacks, sharp pains and horrible migraines. I couldn’t go out of the house. I couldn’t lift anything.
With dedication, and hard work, Cornwell has come a long way since those first months after the blast, although he will never completely recover. He still has headaches, and is blind in his right eye. There is nerve damage and paralysis to his face and right arm. There is some level of pain to grapple with every single day. “But I’m good,” he said. “I’m happy. You just learn how to deal.”
Today, Cornwell works in Redding, California as a physical therapist where he can help those with injuries similar to his own. “I was hurt, and had to fight back. I understand what it feels like to have your life, and everything you love to do taken away from you. My goal is to give other people back their lives.”
“I want to learn from the past, and move forward,” said Cornwell. “My healing came from my children, my family. They are the focus of my life, and my three reasons to live. They are my therapy.”
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