Programs like Soldier Ride® highlight the importance of managing mental health through physical activity and connecting with other veterans.
TAMPA, Fla. (March 7, 2017) – Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Soldier Ride® recently rolled through Tampa, where a group of veterans enjoyed riding 36 miles alongside their fellow warriors. WWP program events like this give wounded warriors an opportunity to connect with fellow service members and learn they are not alone. Among the riders was Marine Corps veteran and wounded warrior Brian Fulford, who flew in from Alabama to participate in the event.
“My parents live near Tampa and came out to see me, which was a nice surprise,” Brian said. “It was the best Wounded Warrior Project event I have ever been to. I struggle with some social anxiety, but I didn’t feel like I needed to have my head on a swivel. I was able to have a good time and relax because the staff made me feel welcome.”
For many injured veterans served by WWP, Soldier Ride is the first time during their healing process that they venture out of their homes to connect with the community. Some wounded veterans face similar challenges when transitioning to civilian life, and gatherings like this offer a chance to bond with other warriors and learn they are not alone.
“My post-traumatic stress disorder makes me feel like I’m on my back and someone’s standing on my chest,” Brian explained. “But being around other warriors who struggle with social anxiety, in the same way, gives me hope. Other people understand what I’m going through, which helps me feel less isolated. Everyone was amazing; the camaraderie was so great. I didn’t want to leave.”
Soldier Ride also introduces wounded veterans to WWP’s long-term health and wellness programs, which include physical training, outdoor events, and nutrition classes. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow veterans to address their mental health issues, and 29.6 percent expressed physical activity helps.
“I’ve got injuries to my leg and back, and my exercise regimen took a hit because of my wounds,” Brian said. “The most challenging and rewarding part was getting out there and just getting back on a bike. It’s been 15 years since I was on it. As I was riding, I felt that drive to get moving again. I’ve made the decision to buy a new bike and start cycling to stay healthy.”
Programs like this highlight the importance of managing mental health through physical activity and connecting with other veterans.
“Just chatting with the other warriors was amazing,” Brian said. “You could see different people from different walks of life coming together and accomplishing this challenge together, giving each other the extra drive to push.”
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/. To find photos from this event, click on multimedia, then images.
Contact: Mattison Brooks – Public Relations Specialist
About Soldier Ride
Soldier Ride® is a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) physical health & wellness program, which empowers wounded veterans to become well-adjusted in body, receiving the care they need to maximize rehabilitation and live active and healthy lives. Through adaptive sports, health, nutrition, and recreational activities where warriors can connect with one another, WWP helps veterans achieve independence and pursue an excellent quality of life.
Read more at woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/soldier-ride.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.