Traumatic Brain Injuries affect millions of people in the U.S. every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these injuries caused by head trauma – anything from a jolt to the head to a severe head injury – can disrupt functioning of the brain. This disruption can mean anything from a brief change in consciousness or mental state to an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia. In the case of severe TBI, where the patient may be unconscious for a period after the accident, there are long-term symptoms that affect not only the victim but his or her family. Different areas of the brain may be severely affected by the trauma, including areas responsible for cognitive function, motor function, sensation or emotion.

For one military family, a husband  returning from Iraq had severe personality changes for years after his accident. Sarah Jenkins, his wife, noticed that he acted irrationally and irritably, though no one quite knew what was wrong.

"Everyone's like, 'Oh, he just got back. It's OK,'" she told the Chronicle. "And then it just kept going and going and going, and you know that something's wrong but you just can't put your finger on it."

For eight years after he returned, Jenkins was not aware that his condition was the result of a mortar blast during his tour abroad. In July 2004, a mortar blast went off 30 feet from Jenkins' husband, an event that changed his behavior afterwards. She remembered telling him about a car she purchased shortly after the accident, and how his response was uncharacteristic of his normal behavior. He left several voicemails for her, the last one of which was "not very nice," she said.

Her husband never told her his diagnosis, though he received it three years after the mortar blast. It wasn't until five years later that Jenkins noticed the record and finally understood that the behavioral changes in her husband were not just the result of post-traumatic stress disorder and a part of his transition to life at home. Once the family knew what had happened and how it affected their father, they made changes to their lifestyle in order to lessen the triggers he was experiencing.

Now, in his life after service, Jenkins and his family are living in the quiet countryside. After finding his medical records, his wife started Project DownRange, which she hopes will improve family member's' access to veterans' medical records. She did not blame her husband for concealing his diagnosis, but having an explanation for his behavior earlier on may have eased the tension and confusion that were prompted by his personality changes. She then wrote a story about her experience with TBI for a Facebook support group. Unknowingly, Chicken Soup for the Soul picked up on her story and decided to publish it in a new edition focusing on recovering from TBIs. Sarah and her family's experience will hopefully bring solace to other families who may be experiencing similar personality changes in their loved ones after a trauma abroad.