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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Veteran keeps moving after injury in military

Veteran+keeps+moving+after+injury+in+military

By Ashley Wood/south news editor

Marine Staff Sgt. Shannon Rogers sat with a broken back in a physical therapy room on a North Carolina base when she received the most devastating words of her life.

“Get all your affairs in order,” the doctor told her. “You’re going to need a career change.”

Leaving the military was never in the plan, Rogers said. She was planning to do her 20 years and retire, but that career was cut short. Now, after a period of depression and soul-searching, she has come to South to start on her new goal in life.

“I had tried going to school early on in my Marine Corps career, and I was just too undisciplined to do it,” she said. “But I knew in order for me to do anything good and to make any kind of money, I would have to have a degree.”

Shannon Rogers injured her back in a training exercise. Eric Rebosio/The Collegian
Shannon Rogers injured her back in a training exercise. Eric Rebosio/The Collegian

Rogers served 11 years before retiring because of her injury. In those years, she did two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. During training for a tour to Iraq, she met her husband, Bret Rogers.

Rogers deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2011 that medical officials found the fractures in her back.

“It’s a lower back injury,” she said. “I broke it in 2009 during a training exercise. The thing is they didn’t know I broke it until I went on.”

She went to the British base for a stomach pain when they found the breaks in her back, she said.

“When they told me, I thought, ‘Are you f—ing kidding me,’” she said. “If they had found it before, maybe I would still be in the military.”

She is nonsurgical at this point. The surgery could actually be worse for her than the constant pain she feels now, she said.

“That’s what happens when you try to push yourself and you’re tired and you don’t do stuff properly. And that’s essentially what I did,” she said.

Rogers said she was in physical therapy for a year, which helped her find her love for physical therapy. With TCC starting a new kinesiology program, the timing seemed so right.

Because of her injury, Rogers said she learned a lot about physical therapy and enjoyed the physical aspects of it, not just the diet and nutrition portions.

“That’s what kind of drove me to say, ‘I could do this for a profession. I really would like to help people feel better,’” she said. “I have experience feeling horrible, so hopefully I can be a benefit to them.”

Bret Rogers helped Shannon through her physical therapy.
Bret Rogers helped Shannon through her physical therapy.

Bret Rogers said dealing with his wife during therapy wasn’t necessarily the hard part. It was her drive that was harder because she always wanted him to try new stretches on her.

“I thought I was hurting her bad, but she always wanted to go further,” he said.

After being pushed to retirement from the Marines, Rogers said she thought life would be great. She could sleep in, not answer to orders and relax.

But after a month, she became depressed and felt like she had no purpose.

“That sounds bad ’cause I had my kids and husband, but I had nothing to really wake up for in the morning,” she said. “There was really no drive for me to do anything.”

Rogers decided to pick up the pieces and try to get a part-time job to make money so they weren’t just scraping by month to month.

She went on her first interview to the retail store Maurice and said she was nervous.

“I hadn’t been on an interview since I was 16,” she said. “The manager said she liked my leadership experience, which was what set me apart. I was so excited to have something to look forward to.”

With so much having happened, Rogers said she is happy to finally be on track for something worthwhile. She has a goal to work toward and a family that supports her.

“I still haven’t found my purpose in life, but I know what I want to do. And that is to help people,” she said.

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