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Ryan, 38

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Ryan right after getting home from the hospital. He's laying on the couch with a blanket. His right eye is covered with an eye patch.
Ryan right after getting home from the hospital

Where are you from?

New Cumberland WV

Where do you live now?

Charlestown WV

Tell us about yourself

I'm a single dad of two wonderful children. I'm a 3rd generation thoroughbred horse trainer. I love horses and cracking jokes all the time.

What's your eye story?

I was at a party with my family on July 4, 2021, when my life changed forever. Alcohol was involved and from what I was told, I pissed off someone else there. He punched me in the face, causing me to fall on a firework mortar tube. I woke up in the ambulance on the way to the University of Virginia hospital after the first hospital didn’t have the equipment to handle what had happened. The fall from the physical assault resulted in my eye falling out of its socket. “Why did I deserve this,” is something I still think about. Now I have to live with this permanent disfigurement and the struggles that come with it.

What has been the hardest thing mentally?

Continuing to work around horses has been challenging because not only did I need two eyes before, but I needed eyes in the back of my head. I am adjusting as best as I can. My biggest enemy right now is adjusting from going into light then dark areas. The days are filled with headaches and exhaustion from only a couple of hours of work now.

A few months after the accident. Ryan's eye is still very red and swollen.
A few months after the accident

What has been the hardest thing physically?

When I look in the mirror and see an ugly eye it doesn’t seem like it belongs to me. It made me quickly realize I was not invincible.

Where are you now in your recovery?

To date, I have had three surgeries. The swelling was so bad that my eye couldn’t fully be put back into the socket. My top and bottom eyelids were sewn together to keep the eye moist until the swelling goes down. I have zero vision in the eye. I have another surgery coming up and am ready to go back to feeling normal with the best version of my original eye as possible.

[Edited for clarity by @jacobfromutah]

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