How can therapeutic recreation benefit veterans whose legs are paralyzed?

If you are an injured veteran whose legs are paralyzed, or you have suffered a spinal cord injury, the staff at a well-designed therapeutic recreation program can give you the personalized attention that will help you take your rehabilitation to the next level.

Sarah Williams Volf, Director of Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO), offers an example:

“After a river trip last summer I heard from a woman whose husband was paralyzed in Iraq three years ago. He kayaked with one of our instructors. He was very nervous at first but he went with this great instructor and he actually made it through class 4 and 5 rapids in the kayak. Afterward, there was just this aura about him, he just was so proud of his accomplishments. He had so much fun. He didn't believe he could do it. Then when he got back home to his family in Ohio a few days later, his wife called and left me a message, and all she said was, ‘Thank you for giving me my husband back. He feels like a man again and he is home after three years. I don't know what happened out there but it was very, very powerful.’ That is therapeutic recreation. But it’s not as if we have a task sheet saying everyone has to get through these rapids and it’s going to make them feel better. We invest a lot of time in getting to know people one on one, building that trust, giving them that confidence. Success depends on having that personal touch and really caring about the individual.”

Therapeutic recreation can empower and inspire you, and can complement other types of therapy in your overall rehabilitation from paralysis or other injuries. It can give you the self-confidence to envision a positive future for yourself and your family.

Explains Volf, “If they do something that they feel very proud of and they feel whole again, they think ‘Wow, if I can do this, I can go back and I can do anything.’ That is the kind of model we try to instill in people.”

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.