Sled Hockey is a welcome escape for injured servicemen like Brant Ireland. The intense competition helps the Fort Bragg military member feel alive. The Green Beret soldier lost his leg while fighting overseas. Now, the therapeutic sport helps the former army member to cope with his new life.
"Sled hockey was huge as far as physical rehabilitation," Ireland said. "Mental and emotional."
Ireland belongs to Carolina Sled Hockey and all team members are disabled soldiers. Recently, the Carolina Hurricanes, a professional ice hockey team, invited CSH to join them in Chicago, when they compete for the national championship. Ireland and other CSH members will wear the Hurricanes' jersey during the competition.
Sled Hockey Helps Disabled Soldiers
The Carolina Sled Hockey founded their team in 2010. CSH now hosts programs in Charlotte, Fort Bragg, Raleigh, and Winston Salem. The organization is part of the Triangle Special Hockey Association which provides adaptive ice hockey to individuals with physical impairments. Sled hockey is almost like ice hockey, except players sit down and have specially designed blades to propel players across the ice.
The sport is not only fun, it also acts as a form of physical therapy. The vigorous activity forces the men to use their arms to maneuver across the rink. The exercise helps build muscle and increase their upper body strength. Strong muscles help amputees move between surfaces like their wheelchairs and beds.
Ireland became interested in the sport after a tragic accident. The Green Beret soldier broke his leg during a combat mission in Afghanistan. While doctors tried to save his leg for several months, they ultimately made the decision to amputate it.
After the serviceman returned to the United States, he started physical rehabilitation in Texas. Before returning to North Carolina, the army sent Ireland back home with sled hockey equipment. Ireland began to use the items, then decided to invite other servicemen who could also benefit from it. He contacted his friend, Rob Pickel, another Green Beret soldier that had lost both of his legs in Pakistan. The men claim the sport helps them to feel strong and the physically challenging aspect of the sport is therapeutic. "I don't even call it a sport," Ireland said. "It's more of a lifestyle now."
Staffing Plus, Inc. will help connect your organization with fantastic occupational and physical therapists. Contact us today for more information. And, if interested in hearing more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
Image courtesy of ID1974 / Shutterstock
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