Wounded soldiers learn how to get back in the game
Photos courtesy of Ability Dynamics
Rich Sainz - amputee and clinical manager for Ability Dynamics - plays at the racquetball clinic in Phoenix.
Rich Sainz (left) of Ability Dynamics and Steven Harper (middle) on the set of Good Morning Arizona
new national program called Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinics (RRC), which is sponsored by the Military Racquetball Federation (MRF), has many chapters across the country and recently hosted a clinic to help wounded soldiers and amputees get back into the game. The event, which was held at Arizona State in Phoenix on February 15-16, was sponsored by Tempe, Arizona-based prosthetic manufacturer Ability Dynamics (www.abilitydynamics.com). The clinic drew many local wounded veterans, some of whom played the game using prosthetic limbs. Service members, especially amputees, are getting their strength and confidence back through the use of racquetball as rehabilitation for both the physical and mental challenges suffered from combat. Using a special technique for vets with disabilities, the RRC program uses racquetball as a way to improve eye/hand coordination, reduce stress and build confidence. Amputee vets use prosthetic limbs to play, and the game helps them build their agility, flexibility and, most of all, hope. The RRC program is made possible, in part, through a sizeable grant from the United States Olympic Committee. These racquetball clinics are timely and effective. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers have
returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wounded and suffering from amputation, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression and other traumas. As a result, they require intense rehabilitation. Rich Sainz, a knee-disarticulation amputee and clinical manager for Ability Dynamics, says he was able to play racquetball with ease using Ability Dynamic’s RUSH foot, which gives him the flexibility, strength and durability required for high-action sports. “I’m passionate about encouraging other amputees to lead full, active lives,” says Sainz. “My work in the prosthetic industry has been very rewarding, and our company fully supports and endorses the RRC for their groundbreaking work with veterans and amputees.” Retired Lt. Cmdr. (U.S. Navy) Steven Harper, executive director of the MRF and founder of the RRC program, says he is “on a mission to help disabled service members thrive through the game of racquetball.” For more information about the MRF and the RRC program, including dates of upcoming events, please visit www.militaryracquetball.com.
MARCH 2013 Amp it up! magazine
Published on Mar 29, 2013