Bronson Horan served in the Australian Army during the war in Afghanistan. This is his story of courage, resilience and inspiration.
While we were on patrol in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, an improvised explosive device exploded and killed one of our group. I suffered a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury and cracks to my some of my vertebrae. Three other Australian soldiers were injured as well.
The impact of my injuries on my family has been nothing short of profound. For those suffering from a traumatic brain injury, many simple and basic tasks become monumental barriers. My injuries and decreased sensory abilities still affect my daily life. With three young children, daily tasks have to be managed well.
My retraining started with basic literacy and numeracy and speech therapy. I went to TAFE to learn how to write again. I then needed to get my business qualification. Thanks to DVA, my training was adapted to take into account my specific injuries and was delivered one on one.
Test, fail, adjust and succeed: DVA and the rehab service provider let me pick reasonable goals that empowered me as an individual and that, hopefully, will set an example in the community.
When thinking about the future, you have to be realistic. I have seen the injured set unrealistic expectations about themselves and also about the services they feel should be provided. The fear of failure and the emotions you and your family experience when you fail can be hard to manage. What you need to do is to learn from that failure, and change and adjust your goals.
In my case, we decided to balance my business with charity work as much as I’m physically able. I am involved with the charity Soldier On, established to support Australia’s wounded defence personnel. This work gives me a great sense of fulfilment, professionally and personally.
Working with the contemporary veterans and seeing them blossom gives me a great sense of achievement and knowing that the charity has helped with the veterans’ rehabilitation gives my own rehabilitation another step forward.
My rehabilitation providers have been great in the support provided during these past few years. They are caring and understanding. I always feel that there are people working with me, not a bureaucracy. My hope is that, through my rehabilitation plan, I will become self-sufficient as a business owner, a father and a husband. I definitely feel that I have made great inroads to achieve these goals.
Although the severity of Bronson’s injuries means that he is unlikely to return to the level of health and capabilities he once enjoyed, Bronson has found a lifestyle that works well for him. Rehabilitation can often be a strenuous journey, but the right support and assistance to get through the programme step by step will ensure positive and successful outcomes.