Winn Army Community Hospital's WTB Enhances Physical Training Program
October 1, 2009
<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </b> - Warrior Transition Battalion squad leaders, platoon sergeants, occupational therapists and physical therapists from Forts Stewart, Eustis, Polk, Leonard Wood, Bliss, Knox, Meade and the Warrior Transition Center in Virginia converged on Winn Army Community Hospital's Warrior Transition Battalion for a "Train the Trainer" clinic, Sept. 21-23.
Partnering with the U.S. Paralympic Military Committee, Winn WTB hosted this clinic to assist with setting-up a Sports and Recreation program for injured 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers.
Training included aquatics-based activities; adapted track; sitting and standing volleyball; power cycling/spinning; and core strengthening.
"Our hope is that through sport clinics, recreation, friendly competition, mentoring activities and networking, Soldiers discover what 'ability' really means," said Kallie Quinn, U.S. Olympic Committee Paralympic Military Program.
Debra Dehart, occupational therapist, Winn WTB, has taken the lead on this initiative to use sports and adaptive sports as a means to improve the physical activity of injured or ill Soldiers in the WTB.
"This program was already in development at Fort Lewis and Fort Campbell, and beginning at Fort Bragg," Dehart said. "Through networking with personnel at these installations and coordination efforts with the U.S. Military Paralympics Committee Consultant, viable steps were taken to implement a program at Fort Stewart."
Through use of the adaptive sports programs, 3rd ID Soldiers will have additional opportunities to participate in activities to improve team building with new Soldiers they are working with.
"They will also improve physical capacity, develop outlets for stress relief and enjoyment, find adaptive ways to participate in sports for themselves or with their Families and friends, not just sit on the sidelines," Dehart said. "That is why partnering with the U.S. Paralympic Military Committee is so crucial to Soldiers assigned to WTB."
Most of the WTB Soldiers require complex case management, usually for six months or longer, so if Soldiers have a desire to advance their skills and potentially participate in sports camps or Military Paralympics competitions, then Winn's WTB and the USOC will be there to provide ways to support those efforts, Dehart said.
"Most of our Soldiers hope to return to duty or reclassify into another (military occupational specialty)," Dehart reported. "While in the WTB, they aren't attached to the Soldier or buddies they have come to know and work with for so long and have to start building new relationships during an unusually difficult time in their life and career."
Some believe there are many misconceptions within the military community about Soldiers assigned to the WTB.
"Programs like this are crucial to the recovery process for these Warriors," Dehart said. "At any time, any Soldier of any rank could find him or herself in the position of needing the services of the WTB - we just have to be supportive of every opportunity to make these Warriors shine."
And that is exactly the objective of Winn's WTB staff.
"Our goal is to provide the proper resources to promote the maximum return to function and promote the Soldiers' goal of returning to active duty, reclassifying, or separating from the military to serve their community as a veteran," Dehart said.
As a result of the training, Winn's WTB staff will now begin to train other cadre within the battalion to begin preparation for full implementation of the Enhanced Physical Training program in the upcoming weeks.
"The program will be easily modified to the medical or physical conditions of the Warriors, yet promote increased physical activity and healthy lifestyles, improved camaraderie, confidence and competition," Dehart said.
Occupational therapists will coordinate with other health care professionals, including the physical therapists and physicians, to establish a "positive profile" that will help the cadre understand what activities the Soldier could participate in safely.
Through use of the adaptive sports programs, Soldiers will have additional opportunities to participate in activities to improve team building with new Soldiers they are now working with, improve physical capacity, develop outlets for stress relief and enjoyment, find adaptive ways to participate in sports for themselves or with their families and friends, and not just sit on the sidelines.