A new national program called “Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinics (RRC) sponsored by The Military Racquetball Federation has many chapters across the country and recently hosted a big clinic at Arizona State in Phoenix on February 15 — 16 to help wounded soldiers and amputees get back into the game. The event, sponsored by Tempe, AZ-based prosthetic manufacturer called Ability Dynamics drew many local wounded vets, some of whom played the game using prosthetics.
Service members, especially amputees, are getting their strength and confidence back through the use of racquetball as rehabilitation for both the physical and mental challenges suffered from combat. Using a special technique for disabled vets, the RRC uses racquetball as a way to improve eye/hand coordination, reduce stress and build confidence. Vets use prosthetic to play and the game help to build agility, flexibility and most of all….hope. RRC is made possible, in part, with a sizeable grant from the US Olympic Committee.
The racquetball clinic is timely and effective. Many of our soldiers are coming home from war wounded, suffering everything from amputation, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression and other traumas, and are having to endure intense rehabilitation for these issues. To date based on VA statistics , there are over 34,000 service members have been physically wounded during the Iraq/Afghanistan war and an estimate of 450,000 suffer from the effects of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Rich Sainz, a below the knee amputee and clinical manager for Ability Dynamics says he was able to play racquetball with ease thanks to the use of Ability Dynamic’s RUSH foot, which gives him the flexibility, strength and durability required for high action sports. “I’m passionate about encouraging other amputees to lead full, active lives,” says Sainz. “My work in the prosthetic industry has been very rewarding and our company fully supports and endorses the RRC for their groundbreaking work with veterans and amputees.
Retired Lt. Cmdr. (US Navy) Steven Harper, Executive Director of MRF and Founder of RRC, says he is “on a mission to help disabled service members thrive through the game of racquetball.”
Their next clinic is scheduled March 24 in Abalene, Texas.