Army Physical Training Changing for Wounded Soldiers

I’m sharing part of a story by Blake Farmer that aired this morning on NPR. He takes a look at changing fitness requirements for injured soldiers who stay in the service and for others who transition out.

A soldier moves into the crescent pose at a daily yoga class offered at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Photo courtesy of NPR.

By Blake Farmer of WLPN

The Army is famous — or perhaps infamous — for its high-octane drill instructors. But for many soldiers who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, push-ups, pull-ups and platoon runs have become impossible, so the Army has been developing what it calls “enhanced” physical training.

For soldiers taking a yoga class at the Warrior Transition Unit — which serves war-wounded soldiers — at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, the gentle commands of instructor Hylan Hampton have replaced the yelling of Army physical training.

“Remember that there’s no judgment, no competition with yourself or with anyone around you,” Hampton tells veterans taking the class, leading them through poses — child’s, sunflower, cat and cow.

The men and women taking the class have sustained visible as well as invisible injuries.

Spc. Michael Stefan is a combat medic who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Seeing soldiers get killed, and working on them and the memories and flashbacks that go along with that, this is the outcome,” he says. “But now I’m at my point in life where I’m transitioning out of the Army, and I have a wife and three kids and one on the way, so now I need to better take care of myself.”

Taking care of himself is more complicated than it used to be. Because of his medication, Stefan is not supposed to get very sweaty.

But a good sweat is just what Stefan needs, says Lauren Geddis, his occupational therapist. She says yoga combines fitness and stress relief for her PTSD patients.

You can listen to the story or read the rest of it here.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: