Pvt. Burrage lost her left ear in a car accident two years ago when she was 19 years old. She was returning to Fort Bliss from leave, traveling with her pregnant cousin, when her car blew a tire.
Burrage lost control of the vehicle, which veered off-road for 700 feet before flipping several times and throwing Burrage from the vehicle. Although her cousin did not receive significant injuries, Burrage suffered head and spine injuries, losing her left ear to road rash.
“I remember people asking if we were okay and then I blacked out,” she said. The next memory she had was waking up in the hospital.
She went to counseling for the trauma of the accident and her injuries. Doctors were able to restore her hearing by opening her ear canal which had closed up when healing from the accident, but Burrage still had to live with the emotional trauma of her disfigurement.
Her counselor suggested plastic surgery. “I was going to go with the prosthetic, but I wanted a real ear. I was just scared at first,” Burrage said.