NORFOLK -- Wounded Warriors from Hampton Roads and Washington, D.C. participated in an Adaptive Sports Training Camp hosted by Naval Station (NAVSTA) Norfolk, Feb. 8 - 10.
Capt. David A. Culler, Jr., Commanding Officer of NAVSTA Norfolk, greeted the warriors before the start of the first training day.
“We are very excited to host this first ever event,” he said. “The Wounded Warrior program is a great program that gives back to those who have sacrificed so much for us.”
Heather Campbell, a coordinator from Navy Safe Harbor, Alabama, along with NAVSTA Norfolk Morale, Welfare and Recreation, planned the three-day event.
“The training exercises are designed to help the warriors determine their limits due to their injuries,” said Campbell. “From there, we focus on their strengths and develop exercises that will help fast-forward the healing progress.”
Capt. John Manning, a participating Wounded Warrior and a nurse practitioner with Naval Health Clinic, Patuxent River, Md., said events like these are a great way for other Wounded Warriors to network and learn more about available resources.
“This is my first event with the Wounded Warriors, but I have already met so many great people with their own stories,” he said. “Even working at a hospital where resources are readily available, there is still so much out there that even I did not know about.”
Manning encouraged everyone to spread the word about the Wounded Warrior program.
“No injury is alike,” said Manning. “The Wounded Warrior team designs programs tailored to the individual’s specific needs. These guys are the subject matter experts.”
The news of the training camp caught the attention of Professor Wayne Pollock, a Recreational Therapy instructor at Virginia Wesleyan College. Pollock, along with a group of students working in the recreational therapy field, joined the warriors for the first day of the training camp. He said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity for the students to work firsthand with people with disabilities.
“For most students, this is the first time they’ve been exposed to individuals with disabilities,” said Pollock.
Students came up with water exercises and an obstacle course that was suited for each of the warriors’ injuries.
“Just like any other training program, you start with the basics and gradually work your way up to exercises that test an individual’s limitations,” said Pollock. “You want to design a program that will help the patient improve physically, mentally and socially.”
The Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Training Camp does just that. The first day the warriors try out several exercises to determine their limits. Next, they learn ways to play the sports they enjoy in a modified method, such as seated volleyball or wheelchair basketball. At the end of the camp, they test the skills they’ve learned by competing in friendly games against one another.
For more information about Navy Safe Harbor, visit http://safeharbor.navylive.dodlive.mil.