Racquetball clinic helps rehabilitate amputee veterans - New York News

Racquetball clinic helps rehabilitate amputee veterans

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

There's a mission to help disabled service members thrive--all by picking up a racquet.

Amputee veterans took part in a racquetball rehabilitation clinic for wounded warriors at ASU in Tempe.

"We are having a lot of soldiers come back home, service members injured in combat, both physically and mentally, so what we're doing is going to the local and national VA medical centers and introducing adaptive sports to the veterans," said Steve Harper, Executive Director of the Military Racquetball Federation.

Since it started in 2008, 320 veterans and service members have taken part and 28 have graduated from the class, which is an eight week racquetball clinic.

Harper says they learn the fundamentals of the game, but it's much bigger than that.

"It is getting them back active in life, dealing with PTSD, stress and anger management issues that they're dealing with at home," said Harper.

Instructor Rich Sainz, played racquetball for the University of Arizona.

He's an amputee and now he helps train other vets how to use their prosthetics.

"Who cares about your hand and your leg, you give it the best you can you go out and you have fun you don't worry about what anyone else thinks or says about you. That's what it's about," said Sainz.

The winner of the regional competition was a US Army veteran from Queen Creek.

"I hope to come back and defend the trophy next year. It's a great foundation, I appreciated the time and effort they put in for us to set some time aside for veterans to play some racquetball," said BRAD BULECHEK, with the U.S. Army.

"All of these folks have given some more than others but they've all made sacrifices for us for our freedom for our country," said Sainz.

"We're not doing this because we're here to gain something, we're here to give back," said Harper.

The racquetball rehabilitation clinic has visited 15 cities so far.

The program is sponsored by the United States Olympic Committee and received a grant from the organization last November.

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