Section: Press Releases

Brain-injured Iraq soldier marks milestone in recovery by running City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day 5k

Brain-injured Iraq soldier marks milestone in recovery by running City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day 5k Pomona, CA.… Less than a year ago, 1st Lieutenant Raymond Fleig left Iraq with a traumatic brain injury and an uncertain future. This Monday, May 26—after nearly 7 months of rehabilitation at Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation in Pomona—1st Lieutenant Fleig will honor his fellow American military personnel and celebrate his ongoing recovery by running the Memorial Day 5k in the City of Laguna Hills.

Due to vision impairments that remain as a result of his traumatic brain injury, Fleig’s neuropsychologist, Kelli McSwan, Ph.D. of Casa Colina, and Casa Colina physical therapist, Soworwon Nyirady, who have treated Fleig on an ongoing basis at Casa Colina, will run the race with him.

While serving in Iraq, Fleig sustained severe injuries in July 2007 when a rocket exploded within 15 feet of him. After acute medical-surgical care at the National Naval Medical Center and the Tampa VA Hospital, Fleig was referred to Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation in October 2007 and has since made tremendous progress with a rigorous rehabilitation program.

The Missouri-born Fleig was non responsive and had lost all but simple communication skills when he arrived at Casa Colina. Today, his communication and cognitive skills—as well as his physical abilities—are vastly improved, and he knew he was ready to take on the challenge of the City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day 5K.

“Raymond has made incredible progress here at Casa Colina,” said Dr. McSwan. “He knows he still has more therapy ahead of him, but he didn’t want to miss the chance to honor his brothers and sisters who have served our country. And he’s worked hard during physical therapy to make sure his body is ready for this test.”

The Laguna Hills Memorial Day 5K begins at 7:00 am on Monday, March 26th and will finish at the Laguna Hills Community Center. ( for race information.)

Casa Colina is privileged to provide medical rehabilitation services to many severely wounded soldiers. The majority of these soldiers have traumatic brain injuries, which many consider “the signature injury” of the current war. Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation, which was founded in 1936, offers a unique continuum of care for individuals with traumatic brain injuries that ranges from acute rehabilitation, post-acute care, outpatient and long-term residential services.