THE PLAYERS Championship is once again honoring Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) warriors and their families during the lead-up to the annual tournament at TPC Sawgrass. Even though there won’t be a military appreciation ceremony or concert on-site, THE PLAYERS is demonstrating its support for veteran nonprofit organizations, including WWP, through a day-long, community-wide campaign called #Match4Military on March 9. THE PLAYERS will match all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $250,000.
THE PLAYERS is using its platform and the #Match4Military campaign to drive awareness to the programs and services Wounded Warrior Project provides warriors and their families, like Army veteran Frank Sonntag, whose life changed in 2011 through a round of golf at a WWP summit.
“I was paired with two other warriors,” Frank said. “One had lost a leg; another one lost a leg and an arm. I saw that and thought, ‘If they can do this and enjoy themselves, so can I.’”
Frank lives with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from his military service. His first solo round back on the course gave him a new perspective.
“I was standing by the green, with the lake to my left and the wind blowing through the trees to my right, and I had the most relaxing moment I’d had in five years,” Frank said. “The impact on my life was tremendous.”
Frank knew it could also have an impact on other veterans, so he became a peer mentor. His pitch: “Give it a chance, come out and take a look, get out of your house, don’t hide away.”
Many warriors struggle with feeling disconnected. In a WWP survey of the wounded warriors it serves, 78% of warriors say they feel isolated from others.
But Frank’s pitch to the veterans he knew worked.
“One soldier had been a tremendous golfer in high school, and he wouldn’t come out,” Frank recalled. “Eventually, I got him to come out with me from time to time, and I saw it have a great impact on his life.”
It also helped Frank face his own mental health battles.
“Seeing how they respond to the help they’re getting just by the game of golf helps me with my PTSD,” Frank said.
Just like a flushed driver, that’s the feeling that keeps him coming back.
“We’ll never be able to dunk like LeBron James or throw a pass like Tom Brady. But any warrior who cares enough to go out and give it a try can get a par on a hole, just like Tiger Woods,” Frank said. “If you can do something like that, that makes you feel whole again.”
Contact: Chris Obarski — Public Relations, email@example.com, 904.570.0823
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition.