National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic


>>Host: Building on the success of its sports
programs for disabled veterans, VA conducted its Second Annual National Veterans Summer
Sports Clinic recently in San Diego, california.>>NARRATOR: SUN, SAILS AND SURF PROVIDED THE
BACKDROP FOR THE 2nd NATIONAL VETERANS SUMMER SPORTS CLINIC – IN WHICH 65 DISABLED VETERANS
TOOK PART. SPONSORED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, THIS MOTIVATIONAL SPORTS
CLINIC – LIKE OTHERS CONDUCTED BY VA – IS DESIGNED TO OPEN NEW WORLDS AND NEW POSSIBILITIES
TO THE RECENTLY INJURED.>>NARRATOR: ARMY VETERAN GREG REYNOLDS HAD
A TOUGH AND DANGEROUS JOB DURING HIS TOUR IN IRAQ – DRIVING A TRUCK AND MANNING A
MACHINE GUN. HE MADE IT BACK HOME, BUT THEN…>>GREG: “Nice sunny Sunday afternoon when
I was out on my motorcycle just enjoying the nice day”
>>NARRATOR: GREG’S LIFE TOOK A WRONG TURN – NOT ON A MAIN SUPPLY ROUTE IN BAGHDAD,
BUT AT AN INTERSECTION IN MASSACHUSETTS. HE WAS IN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT.
>>GREG: I wake up six, seven weeks later with a neck brace, everyone surrounding me. Telling
me what happened. I thought it was a bad dream.>>PETER: “This is a task that used to take
me 15 minutes to accomplish.”>>NARRATOR: GREG AND HIS ROOM MATE PETE CABRAL
– A FELLOW O-I-F VETERAN WHO WAS INVOLVED IN ANOTHER CAR CRASH — HAVE HAD TO LEARN
MANY EVERYDAY SKILLS ALL OVER AGAIN.>>PETER: “Just to walk around and talk…and
learning how to live my daily life. [“It’s that time, guys. It’s that time.”]
>>NARRATOR: WITH THEM AS THEY MEET THESE NEW CHALLENGES IS MICHELLE NELSON — AN OCCUPATIONAL
THERAPIST AT THE BOSTON MEDICAL CENTER, WHO’S BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING GREG AND PETE
REGAIN THEIR INDEPENDENCE.>>MICHELLE: “I’m a little nervous too I’m
not gonna lie. It gets you a little teary eyed when you think about it and you see them
out there, because I’m like “Oh my God,” When I think back a year ago. They they were in
rough shape.” [Go get’em.]
>>PETE: “From the very beginning of my healing she was there. She’s a part of my life now.”
[“Go Peter!” claps for him]>>PETE: “She’s done amazing things to help
me become the person you see today.>>NARRATOR: AT THE SUMMER SPORTS CLINIC, THEY
AND OTHER DISABLED VETERANS FACE CHALLENGES FAR BEYOND THEIR NORMAL COMFORT ZONES…
[Clapping.] DURING THIS WEEK-LONG EVENT, PARTICIPANTS
ARE PRESENTED WITH NEW TESTS – TESTS TO HELP BUILD THEIR BODIES AND THEIR CONFIDENCE.
>>GREG: “I was kind of hoping to get a sit-down bike that I can peddle with my legs. Obviously
I have a fear of falling on that side as I have nothing to brace against.”
[“This is pretty awesome. This is the first time I ever rode a bike since I lost my arm,
yeah.”]>>NARRATOR: AT THIS ANNUAL SPORTS CLINIC,
DISABLED VETERANS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE IN AS MANY EVENTS AS POSSIBLE.
>>GREG: “If you guys were gonna tell me last week that I’d be riding a pedal bike out
here I would have said, no, you guys are crazy. No way”
[“Yeah.”]>>PETE: “Everyone single person here is in
some way fighting their own battle, and they’re doing it differently because they have a different
injury. So you get to see how each different person deals with a situation. So there is
a lot that can be learned from that I suppose.”>>NARRATOR: THEY COME TO FOCUS ON THEIR ABILITIES…
NOT THEIR DISABILITIES. STRONG SUPPORT FOR VA SPORTS CLINICS COMES
DIRECTLY FROM THE TOP. FOR INSTANCE, TAMMY DUCKWORTH – A DISABLED ARMY VETERAN AND
V-A- ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS –CHOSE TO TACKLE THE WAVES HERSELF.
A NATIVE OF HAWAII SHE HASN’T BALANCED A SURF BOARD SINCE HER BLACK HAWK HELICOPTER
WAS HIT BY A ROCKET PROPELLED GRENADE.>>TAMMY: I really think the opportunity to
do something like this is about what you can do. So many of the people that have been here
this whole week would have never thought that they could surf, even before they were injured,
and so to have this opportunity and prove to themselves that they can do something new
is very empowering.>>GREG: “When I went surfing that was officially
one year since I was discharged from the hospital and I thought it would be appropriate for
me to get down and do five pushups. That just reiterated how far I have come over the past
year.” I literally had to learn to walk, talk, eat all over again.
>>MICHELLE: “You just see, um, things about all veterans, like just kind of this look
that they have when they’re out there. You know, it’s like, “Oh my God. Look at what
I’m doing, I’m sailing.” Or, “I’m kayaking.”>>GREG: I know that these activities and these
clinics have helped me develop more physically and mentally, accept my loss, gain a sense
of accomplishment…help me just try new things. I don’t say I can’t do it. I just say I find
a way to do it.>>HOST: Seeing what Greg has accomplished
at VA’S SUMMER SPORTS CLINIC, it’s hard to imagine that his recovery started with simple
tasks — like folding clothes and tying his shoes. So What’s his next CHALLENGE? According
to Greg, one armed pull ups!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *