Getting Active and Social After a Brain and Other Injuries Can Help Veterans
Team Semper Fi has given Navy veteran Derek McGinnis and many other veterans with TBI and/or lost limbs a place to face challenges and meet them with pride and a sense of belonging.
What's amazing about Team Semper Fi or any of our racing-- it's again going back to the resources that we've been given or we've been provided or we've earned, if I may-- is this is my walking leg, and I went above knee. My racing leg has a scoop on it, and then my biking leg is just really a hinge that I can attach to my bike, so I have different legs that I'm privileged to use, and even on Team Semper Fi we have guys that are spinal cord injury, and we use hand-cranked bikes, whatever it takes. Even guys who can't run at this point--even from wheelchairs. You'll be amazed what they'll do, and gals as well, to join us. It's just a purpose and finding a sense of belonging and a mission. Yeah, like I said, I'm grateful for these devices that I use that have been afforded to me. So, on a triathlon it's always swim, bike, run, so whenever I start--usually we start on crutches on the beach or wherever we're swimming at and jump in the water. The buoys are point to point, whatever it's going to be, and then you scoot, scoot, scoot up, and you get your crutches. You have a team member there with you ready to support you. Then you crutch to transition, switch off your bike, switch off your leg, put on your bike leg, jump on your bike, pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal. Finish whatever route they have you go on that the community has picked out, and then come in, switch out, drop your leg, put on the running leg and go finish the end of the route and it's just a method that-- you're not first, but it's a matter of finishing it, finish it with pride and strong and head up and got it done. And you'll find there's a lot of veterans out there that have chosen to use exercise as a way to cope, which is great.
Posted on BrainLine July 3, 2012.
Derek McGinnis is an Iraq War combat veteran serving in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He currently serves combat veterans and their families at the Modesto Vet Center. He advocates for veterans coping with pain through the American Pain Foundation and is the author of a book on pain management.
Produced by Brian King and Vicky Youcha, BrainLine.