D.C.

Eric Holt, military doctor, returns to medicine after surviving IED blast

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A military doctor serving in Afghanistan found himself in a hospital bed after surviving an IED blast, but he didn’t stay there for long.

Eric Holt

Photos of the Fallen: Americans shot down in Afghanistan

Photos of the Fallen: Americans shot down in Afghanistan 44 Photos
Photos of the Fallen: Americans shot down in Afghanistan

Now he’s running with injured service members this Sunday and inspiring others with his amazing recovery.

Laced up for an afternoon run, prepping for a 5K is no sweat for Eric Holt. It’s now part of his path to recovery.

“While the vehicle was tumbling I was thrown into the air until I hit the wall and that’s what hurt,” he says.

While deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, the physician, an anesthesiologist, turned patient. Five others with Holt also survived the blast.

“They put a few plates in my orbit, cheek, in my face and my skull to rebuild my face,” he says.

Dr. John Capacchione was there for part of the recovery.

“He’s remarkable,” he says. “He’s a hero.”

Suffering from a traumatic brain injury, Holt had to re-learn how to walk and practice medicine.

“They finally figured out that the past memories were great, but it was the ability to assimilate working knowledge that they were concerned about,” he says.

Within months he got back on his feet, in more ways than one, thanks to military medical care and therapy. Back to full active duty, he’s now part of a pain fellowship, training and seeing patients again. One that’s complete he can be deployed.

“There’s just not a negative bone in this guy’s body and I think that’s probably why he’s been able to adapt and recover so quickly,” says Capacchione.

Hundreds will be joining him on Sunday at Anacostia Park for the annual 5K Run for the Warriors, an event honoring our wounded and fallen service members.

“Who needs the help?” asks Holt. “The guys in harm’s way.”

As the healing continues, Holt is still focused and more passionate about his mission, even when life takes a different course.

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