October 25, 2007


Recovering From Injury, Returning to TV, Speaking for the Wounded (JACQUES STEINBERG, 10/25/07, NY Times)

In the summer of 2006, as Israeli and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon were clashing, Bob Woodruff desperately wished to fly there to report for ABC News. Never mind that it had been less than six months since a roadside explosion in Iraq pocked his brain with shrapnel and other debris, almost killing him.

“I couldn’t even remember the word ‘Lebanon,’” Mr. Woodruff, 46, said in an interview this week in his office at ABC News, reflecting on the months after he emerged from a 36-day, medically induced coma. “I couldn’t remember the names ‘Israel’ and ‘Hezbollah.’”

Now, though, Mr. Woodruff has recovered to the point that he has returned to work full time as a correspondent for ABC News on its various programs, including “World News” and “Nightline.” In recent weeks viewers have seen him reporting from Syria (on his search for the interpreter who helped save his life in Iraq), as well as from Sioux Falls, S.D. (on the rehabilitation of Senator Tim Johnson, himself recovering from a brain hemorrhage), and Bethesda, Md. (on troops who suffered brain and other injuries as traumatic as his own). In the spring he was in Cuba; two weeks ago he was in Angola for an ABC documentary about Chinese influence around the world that will be broadcast next year.

While he is not yet comfortable reporting live — he still struggles to find the right word at times, or he substitutes one (like syllable) when he means another (synonym) — he has traveled an unimaginable distance from those dark, early days last year, when he would look at a picture of scissors and be unable to say what it was. He is also playing pickup soccer again on weekends, much to his wife’s regret.

“You can see why I think every day, now, is a free day,” he said, his voice soft but firm.

...half the press can't tell Hamas from Hezbollah.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2007 11:14 AM
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