Injured soldier Justin Lansford showed positive signs neurologically Monday night, but his scheduled Tuesday flight back to the U.S. was called off because of health concerns.
The 22-year-old Brookwood grad, injured April 23 in Afghanistan when his Army vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, was weaned off the anesthetic propofol Monday night and the process caused intense reaction to the pain. It also increased his reliance on the ventilator, which led to canceling the flight home from Germany's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where he is being treated.
Lansford's family is now hopeful of a Friday return to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Lansford suffered numerous injuries from the attack, including the amputation of his left leg below the knee and a lacerated liver. Both of his femurs were broken, his lower right leg has multiple breaks and he suffered lung and chest injuries. He also has a high number of contusions, abrasions, small second-degree burns and shrapnel specks all over his body.
Lansford to be honored at soccer game
A pre-game ceremony for injured soldier Justin Lansford is planned for Wednesday at Peachtree Ridge, where the Lions are hosting Brookwood, Lansford’s alma mater, in a state playoff girls soccer match.
Lansford’s extended family — his aunt, uncle and three cousins — will represent him at the event. Lansford, his parents and his younger brother are still in Germany, where he is recovering from an April 23 attack in Afghanistan that left him with numerous injuries.
Peachtree Ridge plans to present two game dedication plaques during the event, one to display at Brookwood and one for Lansford’s family. Fans who attend the game also will be presented with a small American flag for use during the ceremony, which will be held roughly 15 minutes prior to the 7 p.m. game.
Lansford is a 2007 graduate of Brookwood, where he played on the football team.
The positive results Monday night came when his mother Kim called out his name and attempted to calm him down. Lansford opened his eyes and turned his head to look at her, then turned to his father Rick when he spoke to him.
Kim told her son to squeeze her hand when he couldn't stand the pain of his endotracheal tube, and he also followed that command.
"This was a great step forward neurologically in knowing he can follow commands and move all his extremities," Rick Lansford said.
Rick and Kim, along with their other son Chris, have been in Germany since Saturday morning. They initially stayed in the U.S. at the advice of Army officials, who planned an earlier return flight home for their son. But those plans fell through when Lansford suffered from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which causes fluid build-up and prevents oxygen from getting into the blood.
After that, it became clear that Lansford was in for a longer stay in Germany, so his family rushed to see him.
"Kim, Chris and I find it difficult to sleep and have been walking around in a fog," Rick Lansford said. "We are trying to take care of ourselves, but this is just emotionally draining. The only thing getting us through this is all the prayers, wishes and kind words for and about Justin."