Injured Marine Pfc. Sean Adams returned Tuesday to Bethesda, Md., for what could be a lengthy time of rehabilitation, after a surprise Mother’s Day weekend with family and friends in Hall County.
“I enjoyed coming home,” he said. “It was a nice little break for me ... from going through combat and my injury.”
Adams’ ordeal began on Feb. 10, when the 2011 Chestatee High School graduate was leading a patrol of Marines in Afghanistan and he stepped on a homemade bomb. Injuries from the blast resulted in the amputation of his legs.
“It threw me up in the air and then I landed on the ground,” he said, while waiting in Atlanta for a flight that would return him to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “I was scrambling to get to my weapon and I couldn’t.”
A Navy corpsman and a friend of Adams’ “came running up and pushed me back down on the ground and (put) tourniquets on my legs and my right shoulder,” he said.
Adams said he was placed on a Black Hawk helicopter and taken to a hospital, “then I blacked out for five days.”
“I woke up in Bethesda,” he said.
With family by his side, Adams has spent the past few months recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed. President Barack Obama visited with him in March, awarding him a Purple Heart.
Obama also signed a Marine Corps flag in his room, saying he was thankful for sacrifices made by him and his family.
Sean’s brother, Curtis, said the family has marveled at its loved one’s recovery.
“It has been very quick,” he said, adding that doctors first said Sean would be in the intensive care unit for six months.
He has been fitted with prosthetics and travels using a wheelchair, and he otherwise is in outpatient treatment.
“That is God’s hand right here. I know doctors do a good job, but there’s no way a physical hand could take him ... to where he is right now.”
Arrangements were made to sneak Sean into Hall County on Saturday night.
Sunday morning, a slideshow featuring pictures of Sean’s progress, from early days at the hospital to his condition today, was presented to the congregation at Rejoice Baptist Church in South Hall.
“Nobody knew it, but I had him outside (the church) and to come inside to surprise my mother,” Curtis Adams said. “To me, that was the best Mother’s Day present she could get.”
And then, on Monday, Sean Adams visited with some teachers at Chestatee High.
Adams, 19, talked optimistically about his future.
“I lost my legs, but that’s life,” he said. “It could have happened to me in a car wreck here in town. Emotionally, it got to me for a little bit, but I saw fellow Marines (in Bethesda) who were injured similar to me or worse and they look at it in a positive way.
“So, I figured it would do me no good to look at it in a negative way, but to see the good out of it and go from there.”
For now, he will finish up rehab at Walter Reed, a process that could take up to a year.
“It depends on the person,” Adams said.
Then, “I’ll more than likely retire from the Marine Corps, come home and probably coach wrestling — up at Chestatee High School would be nice,” he said. “That or be a construction teacher or something.”