“He lies flat, unseeing eyes fixed on the ceiling, tubes and machines feeding him, breathing for him, keeping him alive. He cannot walk or talk, but he can grimace and cry. And he is fully aware of what has happened to him.”
Four years ago almost to this day, Joseph Briseno Jr. was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range in a Baghdad marketplace. His spinal cord was shattered, and cardiac arrests stole his vision and damaged his brain.
The 24-year-old is one of the most severely injured soldiers — some think the most injured soldier — to survive. [...]
He can respond to questions by grunting or grimacing, and occasionally can say “mom” or “go,” but not consistently. He often opens his mouth.
“We believe he is very frustrated because he wants to say something. Those are the hardest times for us, especially when he’s sick or not feeling well. He just lays there. We don’t know what’s wrong with him,” Joseph Briseno said.