Sam Brown, a soldier badly burned in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, undergoes an experimental treatment to ease his pain through a virtual reality game called “SnowWorld”:

When they first lowered the goggles over his eyes, Brown was not all that impressed. He found himself floating through a kind of glacial canyon, but the overall vibe was pretty kiddie. Snowflakes wheeled gently from a digital sky. Snowmen and penguins lined up on ledges along the fjord. The soundtrack was kind of lame, too. Kind of an upbeat chirpy world music, a catchy-against-your-will kind of thing that he’d never heard before. If you’ll be my bodyguard, I can be your loo-ong lost pal, the lyrics went.

But there was no question Sam felt very much inside this Disneyesque world on ice, and it was a hell of a lot better than being present while they yanked and pulled at his petrified shoulders. So he tried to get into the game. A few milligrams of Dilaudid didn’t hurt.

“Burning Man.” — Jay Kirk, GQ

See also: “Soldiers Take One Step at a Time with Prosthetic Limbs.” — John Pekkanen, Washingtonian, Aug. 1, 2011