"I couldn't even remember that I had four children" the newsman says
Standing steady at a Washington, D.C., podium with no visible sign of impairment, former coanchor of ABC’s World News Tonight Bob Woodruff said on Monday about his grave injuries of January, “It’s kind of hard to believe it now,” PEOPLE reports in its latest issue.
Thanking the soldiers who helped him out of Iraq and the medical staff who saved his life, he accepted a Victory Award for courage at the National Rehabilitation Hospital’s 20th Anniversary Gala.
Woodruff no longer needs physical or speech therapy but does cognitive rehab three times a week to work on “word recall” – calling up desired words at the right time. He’s preparing a TV special on his ordeal and writing a memoir with his wife, Lee, 46, both due out next spring.
All this seemed a fantasy last March when he awoke from medically induced sedation.
“I couldn’t even remember distinctively that I had four children (Mack, 15, Cathryn, 12, and twins Nora and Claire, 6),” says Woodruff, 45, who suffered severe brain trauma and a fractured skull when a roadside bomb in Iraq gravely wounded him. For five weeks he lay heavily sedated in Bethesda’s National Naval Medical Center. The prognosis seemed bleak.
“My little twins,” he says, “I couldn’t remember their names or even that they really were around. I could not even name the names of my brothers.”
Almost immediately, friends say, he began work on regaining his full faculties. He resumed driving this fall and goes to the ABC offices almost daily.
“It was like watching a butterfly emerge,” says his friend Dr. Robin Baker. “We have seen Bob’s true nature, his character and his spirit.”