COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For many units in the U.S. Marine Corps, a popular mantra is "improvise, adapt, and overcome." That's exactly what a group of physically impaired Swedish athletes did in the 1960s when they invented a way to play hockey – thus sled hockey was born. Recently, the Ohio Warriors sled hockey team joined a group of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans to teach them the ins and outs of the game. As they tried a new sport, warriors experienced firsthand what is possible at social events that get them out of the house and connected with fellow service members.
In addition to donating ice time for the lesson, the Ohio Warriors provided WWP veterans with everything they needed to play, including the dual sticks and bladed sleds. To solidify the connection between the two groups, each person received a special WWP hockey jersey.
While working up a sweat and learning a new sport was enjoyable, Navy veteran Bryan Brumfield said his favorite part of the sled hockey gathering was the opportunity to connect with people in his community through shared experiences.
"I just really enjoy the camaraderie with other veterans," he said. "Being able to bond with other warriors is important. It allows us to cope with our specific issues without resorting to drugs, alcohol, or suicide."
These connection activities support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them to the unique bonds experienced during military service. Moreover, they help veterans cope with stress and emotional concerns in environments that accommodate physical injuries and social anxieties. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn veterans to address their mental health issues, and 29.6 percent expressed physical activity helps.
WWP staff closely interacted with attendees throughout the day, providing warriors with personalized therapeutic outlets and advising them of additional services that can assist in their recoveries. Programs assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities. Through the generosity of donors, these programs are available to warriors and family members at no cost to them.
"Wounded Warrior Project has improved my morale and my willingness to do more than just sit around my house," Bryan said. "I feel safe when I am around my fellow veterans; I really feel like it's a brotherhood."
To learn more about how WWP's programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
About Wounded Warrior Project
We Connect, Serve, and Empower
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP connects wounded warriors and their families to valuable resources and one another, serves them through a variety of free programs and services, and empowers them to live life on their own terms. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project