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Veterans Month: Aquatic Rehabilitation for Wounded Warriors

Updated: Jan 13

Happy Veterans Month everyone! I have so many Veterans in my family, My great-grandfather was a B.A.R. man in the 91st Division in Italy, my grandfather was an Air Force doctor during Viet Nam era, my father was in the 1st Marine Division in Desert Storm, and my sister is in Army ROTC in college.

Veterans returning from duty overseas can bring back with them many traumas. Today we are so more alert to some of the less visible wounds of war, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Of particular focus for me, TBI is frequently associated with strokes among the Veterans as one of the complications. These wounds can linger, and recovery can be a long process.

Kudos to the Army surgeon general's office, who has for the last decade funded aquatic rehabilitation for its wounded warriors. Through their rigorous research, they determined that aquatic rehabilitation is critical for full recovery of wounded warriors. 50% of the wounded warriors were unable to fully participate in the land rehabilitation. This means that aquatic rehabilitation was the primary method for them to begin their rehabilitation.

Further, by adapting aquatic recovery, the wounded warriors were able to build confidence, strength and progress much faster overall in their recovery. The best outcome of all occurs when the wounded warrior is able to transition back to full health.

Thank you for Mary O. Wykle, PhD, ATRIC, AEA, for the amazing source article. Dr. Wykle is the recipient of the International Swimming Hall of Fame Adapted Aquatics Award. In her article, she provides many more details on how to organize the aquatic rehabilitation of wounded warriors.

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