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Ft. Belvoir Leaders Learn to Row Learn More About MASP

Image of Military personnel participating in adaptive sports. Army Sgt. Maj. Blair Pierce and Philip Rackham (front), Military Adaptive Sports program coordinator, and Army Lt. Col. Dan Keener and former Army soldier Jeff Boldt (back) experience the benefits of adaptive sports first hand by attending a Military Adaptive Sports Program rowing clinic (Photo by: Roger Wollenberg, Warrior Care RCP).

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Warrior Care's Military Adaptive Sports Program provides recovering service members (RSM), and their caregivers and families, the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of reconditioning activities.

Recently, Fort Belvoir Solider Recovery Unit's Officer in Charge, Army Lt. Col. Dan Keener; and Sgt. Maj. Blair Pierce, the SRU's command sergeant major, participated in a MASP rowing class. This provided them with firsthand experience as how adaptive sports can help with their soldier's recovery. The Army's Recovery Care Program uses SRU at different installations to assist wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers with their recovery; and provide resources for their families and caregivers

The clinic was hosted by MASP regional coordinator Patrick Johnson, in conjunction with Walter Reed National Medical Military Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The actual clinic took place on the Anacostia River near Washington D.C.'s Anacostia Boat House.

During the clinic, they had the opportunity to learn the basics of rowing, while enjoying a day on the water.

"This was my first time rowing, and it was just awesome; being out on the water on a beautiful day," Keener said. "You're exercising and learning a new skill, it was fantastic."

Pierce added, "Today's rowing session I enjoyed just getting out on the water, doing something that I've never did, and seeing the importance of teamwork. Being out on the water relaxes you mentally, it puts you in a tranquil spot, and while you're out there you don't think about everyday life/stresses. It charges your batteries."

MASP provides reconditioning and athletic activities to recovering service members. Fort Belvoir SRU leadership has also noticed a difference within their soldiers that participate. Keener explained, "This gets people out of their shells, gets them to stop thinking about their injury, and to start thinking 'I can do this'. You can see that look on soldiers' faces. Soldiers that seem to be getting better faster are the ones more involved, plugged in, and build community."

"These events help with the Service member's mental health, and it translates to their physical health," added Pierce. "Also, just having the family involved is huge when it comes to these events being hosted. Usually when families are involved in MASP activities, they're going in the same direction, it helps with the overall soldier's recovery. It builds team, our staff says team first, and that includes the family too."

MASP is available to all medically cleared recovering service members, veterans on the Temporary Retirement List, and their caregivers and family members. MASP provides participants with reconditioning activities, adaptive sports clinics, and competitive opportunities. These help maintain physical activity, improve social and family lifestyles, and support mental disabilities.

To participate in Warrior Care's Military Adaptive Sports Program, visit the MASP webpage.

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