Three months ago I was in the darkest place in my life. I had moved to another state to retire, and the reason I was going to retire was because I knew something was wrong inside, something was wrong with my brain. I did my duty and I wanted to go out peacefully. Then I stopped hanging around anybody; I became a recluse and wouldn’t return anybody’s phone call. I guess it just came to a head: I could tell there was something wrong with me, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt it was chemical, but I believed I had never had a TBI (traumatic brain injury). If it hadn’t been for the ReBOOT program, and Morgan Luttrell being involved after going through the experiences he went through, I guarantee I wouldn’t be where I am now.
After talking to Morgan, I was doing cognitive testing and in the ReBOOT pipeline within three days. They drew my blood and took a saliva test, and after about a week I learned what I already knew: my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. I always associated TBI with somebody who had been shot in the head and survived, or a Hummer rolled and they were thrown around violently inside, or they hit an I.E.D. And that had never really happened to me.
However, I can sit here now and look back over my 19 years of service – you’re talking over 800 to 1,000 explosive breaches in training and combat. I never really thought about it because I wasn’t physically hurt, but little did I know the affect every breach had on my brain. When you’re 25, you don’t think about it. Especially when you’re 21, all you’re trained to do when you hear that blast is get through the door and make sure there’s nobody grabbing a gun. I was one of the guys who didn’t want to sit there and say I have a TBI or I’m wounded, because I didn’t get blown up in a Hummer, I didn’t get shot by an RPG and almost die…there just wasn’t anything like that.
When I completed ReBOOT testing, I learned much more than I ever expected. Turns out I did have a chemical issue, but also that my thyroid was no longer existent, I had three viruses that I’ve had for years, and had suffered severe trauma over my 19 years in the military. I had a severe TBI, which contributed to my gross chemical imbalance. Knowing the truth is half the battle; it felt like someone had taken a HUGE weight off my shoulders. It was the greatest feeling in the world.
I started treatment at a ReBOOT brain treatment partner, then went to Virginia to work with Virginia High Performance (VHP) to address my physical recovery. The moment I hit Virginia everything started to come together. I could tell the exact day that happened with my body: it was my ninth day at Virginia High Performance, no joke. Though I’m a Navy SEAL, I have no problem admitting I was deathly afraid of doing even simple workouts. I was afraid because it hurt. The great thing about VHP is not only did they teach me how to strengthen my body the right way, but they stopped me from thinking I had to overdo it and bench press 500 pounds or run for miles. They taught me how to work out while preventing injury and pain. I lost ten pounds of body fat, gained five pounds of lean muscle, and my bone density increased.
I can honestly say, if I was a multi-millionaire I would pay to send every single Special Forces and Navy SEAL through this program. It should be mandatory; it should be absolutely mandatory. I know a handful of guys that think they couldn’t have a TBI, just like I was thinking, and I know they would get the same results from going through the program. ReBOOT has the power to change lives. I’m doing things today I couldn’t do just a few years ago. And if you ask my kids right now, they’ll confirm this is the happiest and best mood I’ve been in for five years. Thank you for the opportunity.
Boot Campaign would like to thank Ty for sharing his story and inspiring other heroes struggling with TBI and PTSD.