"I don’t know what would have happened to me without my friends and family," Woodruff says.
Today, Woodruff is an advocate for soldiers who have sustained traumatic brain injuries - the signature injury of the Iraq war. service members have sustained traumatic brain injuries, according to the Foundation's web site.
"How I survived, we still don’t know to this day," Woodruff said in a speech this month in San Diego at the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery's annual meeting.
The audience included the surgeon who rebuilt his face after the attack.
Soldiers and other people who sustain traumatic brain injury are more likely to experience emotional issues, including posttraumatic stress disorder, divorce, homelessness, seizures, and vision and hearing loss.
"Traumatic brain injuries have never gotten this much attention," Woodruff says.Julie Woodruff joined Saint Francis Medical Center in 1998 and served as Operating Room Manager before being named Surgical Services Director in 2016.She was named Chief Nursing Officer in December 2017.The blast knocked Woodruff unconscious as rocks and metal pierced his face, jaw, and neck.Woodruff's cameraman, Doug Vogt, and an Iraqi soldier were also hurt.Upon waking up, "I could not remember my family members' names," Woodruff recalls. His operations included the removal of part of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain.Before going to Iraq, "I never had surgery other than dental surgery and a lot of stitches as a result of being raised with brothers," he tells Web MD.In this role, Woodruff is responsible for the standards of patient care and nursing practice.She is the nurse leader at the executive level, providing authority and accountability in regard to patient care and nursing practice.Despite his injuries, Woodruff counts his blessings.The rocks narrowly missed the major arteries in his neck. The near-death experience has given Woodruff a new perspective.