Wounded warrior shares story of survival - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Wounded warrior shares story of survival

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(11/09/12) - He lost his left eye when his military base in Afghanistan was attacked this summer.

Michigan State Police Trooper and Army Sergeant Platt Weinrick shares his story of survival. In his first on-camera interview since his injury, he takes us back to that June day when his life changed forever.

Platt Weinrick has come a long way since June 19. On that day, he was sleeping in a tent on a military base in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked.

"It was real close, I didn't hear the explosion but felt the fragments hit me. I went to a standing position to lay down position I knew it wasn't good. When I stood up, I could feel something was wrong, I knew I couldn't see out of my left side, I reached up to touch my eye and saw blood on my hand."

Platt lost his sight in his left eye and a piece of shrapnel is still lodged in his brain. "It will be there for the rest of my life, they're afraid it could do more brain damage. It's about an inch from the back of my skull. It's free floating in my brain, so at any point. I'm supposes to be blind in my right eye because it went through my vision center. I'm not supposed to remember anything because it went through the memory section of my brain."

Platt does suffer from short term memory loss, another effect of his traumatic brain injury. He's spent months recuperating to build up strength in his right eye. Doctors are in awe of his recovery. He recalls a conversation he had with one after coming out of surgery. "He asked me my name, my rank, my social security number, and I told him. He looked at me, said 'you're a miracle.' I should be brain dead right now, I'm not supposes to stand here and talk to you, not supposed to walk, not supposed to talk, no memory at all, just that I had short term memory and a loss of an eye is a miracle."

There is a chance that while his brain is healing, that piece of shrapnel could move. In a worst case scenario, Platt could completely lose his vision and all functionality, but with his wife Andrea and their three children by his side, he chooses to focus on the positive.

"It's a huge driving force for me, to be able to say that I'm here for them and it's a restart. So my wife and I have done everything we can to restart correctly and it's taken some time, but we are getting there. I look at things totally different than I ever did before. Some things I use to find exciting I have found I don't need that anymore."

"The biggest thing is he's still here. My greatest fear was that he would never come home. Having been deployed myself, I know how difficult it is just to come back from that. Afghanistan is so crazy right now and I was just very afraid that he wouldn't come home. Biggest bonus for us is that he's here with us, he's alive, he gets to spend time with and he gets to see his children grow up," said his wife, Andrea.

Platt said the hardest part hasn't been the limited vision - it's knowing how close he came to losing it all. "I've reached that point where I know that it can end very quickly. If I can reach our 50th anniversary, I'd be very happy."

"We have a lot more plans of the future, of what we are going to do together, places we want to go, things we want to see, things we want to share with our kids. Definitely a greater appreciation for life in general," Andrea said.

Despite his wounds, Platt said he would do it all over again - he would still join the Army. And on this Veterans Day, the Weinricks are especially grateful.

"Anyone who has served has made the Military what it is today, and those who are serving now will make it better tomorrow. Without those who volunteer to go or just to make it better, we wouldn't be where are today."

Platt hopes some day to be back on the job as a Michigan State Police trooper.

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