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Health and Fitness

Moving Forward

Wounded Warriors Enjoy Recreational Sports Camp

Twelve seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen took part in a recreational adaptive sports camp Aug. 1 - 3 at the Waterfront Athletic Complex at Naval Station Norfolk

It was the second event of its kind to take place at the naval station.

In addition to wheelchair basketball and swimming, the three-day camp featured several new sports - adaptive lacrosse, racquetball and tennis - taught by world-class instructors.

"My doctors told me I would never walk or talk again. I had to relearn everything during more than three years of therapy," said retired Navy Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class (AW/SW) Marlon A. Bevans who was seriously injured in motorcycle accident April 1, 2010.

"Sports keep my mind off my injury and focused on a goal. I feel some pain, but the pain is a sign that I am alive. You just have to keep moving forward," he added.

The camp was hosted by Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) - Safe Harbor, the Navy's wounded warrior support program. NWW makes adaptive athletics available to nearly all of the more than 1,130 enrollees in the program. Adaptive athletics have proven positive effects on wounded warriors, such as lower stress levels and fewer secondary medical conditions.

"The wounded warrior athletes really seemed to enjoy the new sports we offered at this camp, and they had a great time together" said Lt. Megan Haydel, NWW's adaptive athletics coordinator. "Once again, our colleagues at Naval Station Norfolk were incredibly welcoming. We hope to continue hosting camps like this and offering our athletes on the East Coast opportunities to stay active."

On the afternoon of Aug. 1, members of the Virginia Sun Wheelers - a competitive wheelchair basketball team based in Hampton Roads, Va. - took part in a friendly scrimmage with the wounded warrior athletes. The game was open to the public free of charge and drew spectators and supporters from the area.

"I'm having a great time," said retired Coast Guard Machinery Technician 1st Class Ramon A. Moore, who is recovering from cancer. "At this camp, I played racquetball for the first time in three-and-a-half years. I used to play regularly, but I haven't played since my surgery. It was a little different, but I did pretty well."

NWW provides Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, as well as their families, with non-medical care while they are recovering from serious illness or injury. Staff members throughout the country tailor support to each enrolled service member's recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration needs. The program allows service members and their families to focus on recovery without distractions.