Mind/Body Approach Utilized for Healing Vets
> 9/5/2006 1:00:49 PM

An excellent piece in this week's Newsweek looks at some interesting and positive strategies for helping those veterans considered "severely injured" heal and cope after returning from the battlefield. Improvement in medical science has meant that more and more casualties of war are surviving their wounds (90% in the current conflict versus about 75% during the Vietnam War). This means that while military deaths are down, a larger proportion of soldiers are returning with wounds, both physical and mental, that must be treated. This represents a new challenge, one that the Pentagon is meeting with new approaches.

Those considered to be severely wounded must have either lost a limb or eyesight or suffered burns, paralysis or debilitating brain injuries. These types of injuries require massive readjustment to life, and can often be accompanied by post-traumatic stress disorder or major depressive episodes. Newsweek's article looks at a new approach that emphasizes extreme sports and outdoors activities to help soldiers regain confidence and build positive experiences around their new bodies. With the help of groups like Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, soldiers white-water raft, hike, rock climb and kayak; all of which help build muscle, but more importantly, help ease the mental transition into a new life.

Earlier, we wrote about new technologies helping troops readjust, but here Newsweek also talks about age-old technologies receiving a new packaging. In San Antonio, work is underway on a privately funded rehabilitation space called The Center for the Intrepid. At this new facility, doctors and therapists will be able to work closely with vets mirroring much of the holistic approach of adaptive sports. The new center will also be situated at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, which should be accessible to friends and family. While there has been some furor over the funding of the center, hopefully this will fade as all embrace it for the good it can do to help our veterans heal and move forward.

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