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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Exit Wound

  • Author(s): Holcombe, Hunter
  • et al.

It’s an irrational statistic: For every Californian soldier under age 35 killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, three die from suicides, reckless vehicular accidents and substance-related incidents.Exit Wound,a 25-minute documentary,follows Chess Johnson, a 28-year-old army veteran near Seattle who was shot through the eye while serving in Iraq. After being told he is no longer fit to serve, Chess suffered through a downward spiral of anxiety, depression and PTSD while fending off an addiction to alcohol and adrenaline, compounded by heavy prescription drug use.

Having sworn of alcohol, and trying to find peace in outdoor recreation, Chess and his wife Krianne are invited to Higher Ground, a camp in Sun Valley, Idaho treating veterans with PTSD, specifically with activities like snowboarding, fly-fishing and other progressive outlets.

The films follows Chess at the camp as he and other veterans talk about what PTSD really looks like, providing an intimate look at the problem, and the kinds of treatment that may be needed to deal with it.  

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