By Stephanie Rush, Pacific Regional Medical Command Public AffairsSeptember 17, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Sept. 17, 2012) -- The Pacific Regional Medical Command's Warrior Transition Battalion sponsored a joint service adaptive water polo tournament, Sept. 7, at Richardson Pool, here.
Joining the Warrior Transition Battalion's, or WTB's, six teams was a seventh team made up of Marines in transition from Marine Corps Base Hawaii-Kaneohe Bay's Wounded Warrior Battalion-West.
Standing water polo and inner-tube water polo are just one of the many adaptive sports programs that play a major role in the recovery and healing process of wounded, ill and injured service members.
"First and foremost the adaptive reconditioning program gives folks the opportunity to participate," said Sgt. 1st Class Norbert Fuata, platoon sergeant, Company A, WTB and team captain for the winning team. "It gives everyone the chance to play regardless of his or her injuries. It also gets them out of the office or clinics."
Getting service members in transition out of their office or medical clinics where they're seen for treatment is an important part of the importance of adaptive sports programs. Adaptive sports programs offer wounded service members the opportunity to participate in physical training while having fun in a competitive environment.
"With the WTB, everything is so focused on traditional types of treatments, but this is (more of an) out-of-the-box treatment," explained Michael Esquibil, licensed clinical social worker, Company B, WTB. "You're using a different part of the brain. The whole intention of doing adaptive sports is to one, keep Soldiers physically active and two, keep Soldiers mentally healthy."
Not all service members assigned to the WTB transition back into the Army when their recovery is done. Some will transition into civilian status.
"Adaptive sports are good for morale," said Sgt. 1st Class Fetuosasae Sua, who is currently assigned to Company A, WTB, but plans to leave the Army and return home to Samoa after his recover is complete. "It's one Army but there are a lot of ethnic groups here in the WTB. (Playing adaptive sports) is a bonding experience and a really good way to prepare for going home."
A Marine in transition echoed Sua's sentiments.
"For us to be able to practice and actually compete in sports like volleyball and water polo really helps boost morale and makes us want to get better quicker," said Marine Cpl. Bryson Walker from Kaneohe's Wounded Warrior Battalion-West.
Walker, who is from Hawaii, is planning to transition out of the Marine Corps after he's recovered and plans to go to school to become a psychologist.
"I want to help fellow wounded warriors," Walker said. "I understand what they're going through and can give them the best advice I can give them."