Monday, April 18, 2011

Enhanced Warrior Physical Training changes minds, lives

Wounded soldiers discover abilities through alternative fitness program
A Fort Campbell program designed to help soldiers recovering from combat-related injuries is changing warriors' perspective on physical training and a number of other things in the process.

The Enhanced Warrior Physical Training program at Fort Campbell is part of a directive from Washington, D.C., requiring all wounded warrior units in the Army to have some form of adaptive sports or fitness program. Many of these wounded warriors can no longer perform the Army's typical physical training, but they still must log one hour of physical exercise, a physical therapy or a recreational activity five days a week.

The EWPT program allows recovering soldiers to exercise regularly in a manner that best suits their needs. For warriors who are getting out of the Army with a medical discharge, the program aims to get them involved in suitable activities as they make the transition out of the Army and encourages them to continue their participation in those activities once they've left.

At the Fort Campbell Warrior Transition Battalion, soldiers are prescribed an individual physical fitness and adaptive therapy plan based on their medical situation. They work with occupational therapists, clinicians and doctors on setting goals, what they want to do and how they can get there.
Impact of injury

Sgt. 1st Class Landon Ranker, who oversees the coordination and resourcing of the EWPT program, knows first-hand what many of the wounded warriors are going through. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that made it impossible for him to perform his usual job. At the time, there were no well-established fitness programs for wounded warriors. Realizing this, Ranker and occupational therapist Lauren Geddis agreed to bring their individual ideas together and create a comprehensive adaptive plan to help these soldiers.

"As a warrior, I wanted to start doing something to help with my rehab and therapy and stuff," Ranker said.
Ranker said his injuries took much of his confidence and happiness away — for a while at least.

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