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Abilene doctor speaks about Boston experience amid bombings

Published On: Apr 16 2013 06:11:09 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2013 08:18:38 AM CDT

The tragedy in Boston hit home here in Texas.

During the annual Boston Marathon on Monday, two bombs erupted near the finish line killing three people and wounding more than 180 others. It happened in Copley Square, the heart of the city.

Seven people from the Big Country were registered to run in the Boston Marathon, including an Abilene man Dr. Jeffrey Braaten.

Dr. Braaten said when he first heard the explosions, he thought it was a celebration. He was only a short distance from the finish line when the bombs went off. As for signs of danger during the day, he said there weren't any.

"It was a perfect running day," said Dr. Braaten. "It was absolutely perfect. There was very little wind. Everybody was excited. There was a big buzz. The crowd was just really excited to be doing the event they had planned on and trained and been wanting to do."

Dr. Braaten was made aware of the tragedy from his family. Calls flooded his cell phone trying to confirm that he was okay. Most of the calls went straight to voicemail or didn't go through at all. Cell phone service was taken down in case the mobile device was being used to detonate the explosives.

"The first thing that went through my head was well what if I had been running 20 minutes slower," said Dr. Braaten. "My family didn't come on this trip. If they had been here they typically try to hang around the finish area. What if they had been there? You just thank God that, that didn't happen and your heart goes out to the people that were there."

Despite the horrific disruption to the race, Dr. Braaten said this act of terror will not keep him from running in future marathons.

"You just don't give into that kind of stuff, so yeah I would run," said Dr. Braaten.  "I'm not going to change the way I live based on some nutty terrorist type of folks, or whoever it turns out to be."

Dr. Braaten is still making his way back to Abilene.

Death and tragedy are difficult topics to discuss with children. KTXS also spoke to a psychotherapist about how to approach the conversation with youngsters.

Dr. Marc Orner said, "Listen to what they're questions are. A lot of times what parents do in times like this is try to soothe their children before they actually hear what they're questions are. I know that's the purpose of parents. One if the many purposes of parents is to try to make their kids feel good. A lot of times kids are going to be asking specific questions and if you as a parent can answer specifically as best as possible. Again my favorite phrase is, everything has to be age appropriate."

The other six runners from the Big Country: Robert Friberg (Abilene), Randy White (Abilene), Samantha Burgess (Ballinger), Sebastian Haynes (San Angelo), Carmel Pace (Rule) and Dr. Belinda Southall (Clyde) have all been confirmed as okay.