RECENT ARTICLES
  • Rays to Give Military Free Tickets for Rest of Season

    by Christopher O'Donnell, Tribune staff July 2015

    Under the Rays Honor Pass program, active service members and retired or honorably discharged veterans can get two free tickets to Rays home games for the rest of the season.

  • Warrior Games Lift Spirits of Wounded Veterans

    by Jacqueline Klimas, The Washington Times June 2015

    Marine Lance Cpl. Duncan Mathis rolled to the sidelines of the basketball court in his sport wheelchair, sweat dripping from his face after a hard practice, slipped on his prosthetic leg and then walked out of the gym at Quantico.

  • The AB Extra: June 5

    by Laura Godlewski June 2015

    This week's AB Extra features a mishap at the French Open, information on how to get a one-of-a-kind urinal autographed by Barry Sanders, and a unique park that opens in Chicago this weekend. 

  • Air Force Marathon Has Runners, Needs Volunteers

    by Barrie Barber June 2015

    The Air Force Marathon is looking for a few good volunteers for the one of the largest events in the Miami Valley that attracts runners from around the globe.

  • Program Pairs Veterans with At-Risk Youths

    by Laura Godlewski May 2015

    With the unemployment rate for veterans around seven percent, Paul Caccamo wanted to help those returning from war find work. Caccamo is the founder and CEO of Up2Us Sports, which is a nonprofit that aims to use sports to help at-risk children, as well as aiding their development. Using the framework from Up2Us Sports’ Coach Across America, a program similar to Teach For America or City Year that places people in schools or communities throughout the country to coach at-risk youth, Caccamo developed the Operation Coach program.

  • Air Force Trainee Dies After Collapse

    by Emily Attwood May 2015

    A 19-year-old Air Force trainee at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland collapsed during a physical fitness training exercise on Monday. Following attempts by medical personnel to revive her, the woman, identified as Kelani Thomas of Troy, Ala., was taken to the San Antonio Medical Center and pronounced dead.

  • Study Pits Army Fitness Training Versus CrossFit

    by Emily Attwood January 2015

    Whether we're for or against it, most of us can agree on one thing: CrossFit workouts are tough. Really tough.

  • Military, Municipal Rec Programs Leverage Resources

    by Emily Attwood September 2014

    Residents in Fairborn, Ohio, have had few outlets for cooling off during the hot summer months since their local public pool was closed in 2009 and subsequently demolished. Construction of a new pool was not in the budget, but that didn't stop the Fairborn Parks and Recreation Division from looking for other solutions. This past summer, through a partnership with the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, residents were overjoyed to have access to the base's Prairie Pool for the summer.

  • Adaptive Sports Programs Aiding Recovery for Military

    by Emily Attwood June 2014

    Last month, the sixth annual Warrior Games took place at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., a departure from its previous host city, Colorado Springs. While past games have been organized in partnership between the Department of Defense and U.S. Paralympics, the DOD took the lead in organizing this year's event and will continue to do so, with different branches of the military hosting each year. As noted by a department spokesperson, the change was part of the DOD's effort "to better align the event with the Games' core mission of playing a vital role in recovery for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans."

  • A Call to Action for the Aquatics Industry

    by Eric Herman June 2014

    Last week I couldn’t help but notice this year’s Memorial Day observance took place just days after the breaking news about the falsified records scandal at VA hospitals. In a world filled with brutal ironies, that one was a doozy! 

    Naturally, the timing led to all sorts of political finger-pointing and moral handwringing about how we’re failing in our duty to assist our wounded service people. Although that simple observation is something most people probably believe in, it’s equally apparent that without action, even the most well- intended rhetoric does little, if any good at all. 

    As is true for many, Memorial Day is a really big deal for my family. My dad is an Air Force Vietnam vet; my stepfather a Word War II Navy vet; and my grandfather served as a Marine in both WWII and Korea. As my thoughts were with these heroes — all of who remain healthfully extant — and their brothers and sisters in arms who haven’t been so fortunate, I realized that the aquatics industry is perfectly positioned to offer assistance in this current crisis of care.

    RELATED: Military Veterans Find Success in Fitness Industry

    For many wounded warriors, aquatic therapy stands as one of the most effective means of treating both physical and mental injuries. Community aquatic centers, YMCAs, university facilities and others should take the lead in making free access to such facilities for veterans a top priority. And better still, wouldn’t it be great if such facilities programmed use with war-injured veterans in mind? That could be as simple as reserving a couple swim lanes exclusively for vets during certain times, or as involved as bringing in therapists to volunteer their time and services. Facility owners and managers might even consider reaching out to VA hospitals and clinics as partners to make aquatic exercise more readily available to those vets who need it most. 

    On a purely self-serving level, I can’t think of a more noble or effective way to promote the profound health benefits of water-based rehabilitation. The fact is, catering to our active and retired servicemen and women would be spectacular PR. It’s exactly the kind of exposure our industry needs. Beyond that interest, however, is the reality that opening doors to vets could do genuine good for those who are unfortunately being underserved by the institutions designed to help them. 

    Keep in mind that our most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated how modern medical science can keep severely wounded soldiers alive. Ultimately those advances in lifesaving procedures and technology put more burden and responsibility on society at large to take care of these brave souls as they move forward in their post-military lives or seek to re-enter active duty. 

    In saying all this, I realize there are already many facilities moving in this direction, and the call to action is being heard across the aquatics industry. In preparing this discussion, I found the following passage in an article on the website for the Aquatic Exercise Association by Will Corley, an undergraduate in the Exercise Physiology program at West Virginia University: 

    Many different injuries are seen in returning veterans of modern warfare. Since the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, 50,420 United States service members have been wounded in action. Injuries range from chronic lower back pain to multiple limb amputations due to the large forces of present day weapons. Cognitive impairments, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), can make a veteran’s return difficult as well. These injuries and mental disorders can be managed using aquatic therapy and exercise programs… but are there enough nationwide?

    READ MORE: Water Warriors

    For those owners and managers who might not have given the idea any thought, however, maybe the time is nigh. 

    For those of us who aren’t in a position to institute such programs, we can always use our voices to support the idea of opening up aquatic centers to vets, free of charge. You might also consider hosting a fundraiser or donating to the Wounded Warrior Project, which is doing important work helping our wounded service personnel integrate into society. 

    There is always some way you can help. 

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to meeting wounded vet needs. Given the flexibility and power of aquatic therapy, however, our industry is arguably well positioned to offer an important and helpful part of the answer. 


    Eric Herman is senior editor of AB's sister publication AQUA magazine.