Soldier set to return to active duty after sustaining injuries by distracted driver in 2014

Adaptive Winter Sports Cutline: Injured by a distracted driver in August 2014, Staff. Sgt. Tiffany Rodriguez-Rexroad of West Virginia is set to return to active duty this spring upon completing her recovery at Fort Sam Houston Warrior Transition Unit.

By John M. Rosenberg, Warrior Care and Transition

According to Lt. Gen. Nadja West, the 44th Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command, the fundamental tasks of warrior care are promoting, improving, conserving and restoring the behavioral and physical well-being of Soldiers. To wounded, ill and injured Soldiers such as Staff Sgt. Tiffany Rodriguez-Rexroad, this essential mission, as outlined by West, comes down to the efforts of the Fort Sam Houston Warrior Transition Unit staff who enabled her to recover to such a degree that she was declared fit to return to duty.

“I have a lot of good things to say about the staff at my WTU,” says Rodriguez-Rexroad. “They care about Soldiers and our recovery, making sure to help in every way they can with our healing process.”

Rodriguez-Rexroad has had a great deal from which to recover after having been struck while crossing the street at Fort Hood, Texas by another Soldier who was driving while sending a text message on his phone.

Those few seconds in which the driver was distracted translated into more than two and a half years of arduous recovery for Rodriguez-Rexroad, given her broken pelvis, bleeding lungs, and a score of other infirmities. “The ligaments in my right knee were also severely damaged,” said Rodriguez-Rexroad who was assigned to Fort Sam Houston WTU while relegated to a wheelchair.

At the WTU Rodriguez-Rexroad discovered adaptive reconditioning, which aided her physical recovery, as well as the Career and Education Readiness program that was instrumental in helping her to return to active duty.

The only thing the West Virginia native knew about WTUs was that they were a place where one is supposedly sent when transitioning out of military service. “I wanted so very much to remain in the Army,” said Rodriguez-Rexroad. “I didn’t know you could also go to WTUs to transition back to active duty…The very first thing the staff at the WTU said to me was, ‘It’s your job to heal.’”

With three deployments behind her, Rodriguez-Rexroad has had a variety of military occupational specialties, including that of crew chief for drone operations and serving as a medical orderly in Iraq.

Rodriguez-Rexroad credits CER and adaptive reconditioning for reminding her that she is not broken and for offering her the chance to prove that wounded, ill and injured Soldiers can still accomplish many things. Rodriguez-Rexroad recently received orders for her next duty station— serving on a mobile repair team at an Army training center.

“This was great news to me,” exclaims Rodriguez-Rexroad. “It means I’ll be leaving the WTU in a couple of months and working to maintain high tech equipment.”

After countless surgeries, including a right hip replacement, Rodriguez-Rexroad has indeed come a long way in recovering. She says that she will miss the people and the outstanding support that she’s received at the WTU.

Throughout her recovery Rodriguez-Rexroad also enjoyed a great deal of support from her family back home in West Virginia. She states that they call her often in asking how she’s getting along. “The only thing is,” says Rodriguez-Rexroad, “they will sometimes yell at me because I am not calling them enough!”