ARLINGTON, VA — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Maj. Nick Dewey at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Soldier Recovery Unit wondered how he was going to continue his recovery. Thankfully, his SRU stepped in, providing him with a new workout routine, internship, and a path to return to duty.
Dewey came to the Walter Reed SRU in early 2020 after getting a traumatic brain injury while on a training rotation in Germany. But he arrived right as the pandemic was about to hit, leaving him wondering what to do next — as well as when he’d return to duty.
The first thing he wanted to do was get back into a workout routine, and the SRU introduced him to one involving suspension cords. Dewey trains for 30 minutes straight with no break, and he admits it's one of the toughest routines he's done.
"When I first got here, most everything was online," he said. "So I was looking for workouts. I didn't know how long we'd be in D.C., so my wife and I got a tiny apartment here and we gave this workout a try.
"I underestimated it," Dewey said with a laugh. "I got done with it and I was laid out. I was like, alright, I guess I'll do this again."
The workout is particularly good for him because it also helps with the mental side.
"It's a good workout where I wasn't pushing my body into overdrive," he said. "I think it helped me in my recovery because it kept me physically strong without going to the gym during times of COVID, and I flip on motivational videos when I'm doing it, so it's part mental."
But that’s not all the SRU did for him. Dewey is also participating in an internship at the Pentagon working on plans, policy, and strategy for countering extreme organizations. He hopes to return to duty as soon as mid-September.
His advice to other Soldiers recovering at an SRU is to take advantage of the unit's significant resources.
"I'm very impressed with the adaptive reconditioning program as far as the opportunities they provide," Dewey said. "Whether it's snowboarding or sailing or hiking through various parts of Virginia, there's some motivated people here. But you've got to seek it and make the most out of it."
The SRU helped him with the exercise routine, providing two classes per week either in-person or online. And Dewey’s case is just one example of what an SRU can do for a Soldier.
"It can be a great opportunity to recover," Dewey said. "The internship program at the SRU is, I think, one of the most phenomenal tools the military has."
The Army Warrior Care and Transition Program is now the Army Recovery Care Program. Although the name has changed, the mission remains the same: to provide quality complex case management to the Army's wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.