Wounded WarriorsTherapy Through Aquatic Programs

By Cindy
Posted . Filed under Health & Wellness.

Read a great article this morning in The Government Recreation & Fintness Magazine this morning. The article, “Take the Plunge” was a fantastic read on the effects of a stainless steel swimming pool at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base located in California and how pool and the aquatic programs are proving to be an ideal setting for the wounded warrior men and women dedicated to serving our country. The base has a Hope and Care Center, which is home to aquatic therapy pools for the Marines, sailors and families to remain active or recover and heal from injuries. Because injuries can occur during active-duty, training, or even daily activities, having an effective rehabilitation & aquatic therapy program on site is essential for a smooth recovery and fast return to service.

At MCB Camp Pendleton there are two pools and the Hope and Care Center which includes a covered outdoor pool and an indoor therapy pool with built-in treadmill, all of which are used by wounded warriors assigned to Wounded Warrior Battalion- West.

“Any time, whether you are in the military or a civilian, that you have a catastrophic injury and your life has to change, it is very hard to get out of bed and get motivated to do something. With facilities like this and the staff that we do have here, we help to motivate these wounded warriors and get them out of their rooms and back outside and active again. We are here to let them know that their life isn’t over… So getting them back involved in activities and society is very important for us here on base.”- Lisa Williams, supervisory recreation specialist and aquatics manager for the Hope and Care Center

The eight lane, 50 meter pool is used primarily for lap swimming, unit training and instructional-based activities. Another pool is used for recreation and fitness and is where the bulk of the learn-to-swim program is done. Due to the sizes of these pools, the base was able to host the “Warrior Games swim trials’ in February and the Games will take place in May. Additionally, for some more fun, the one pool is equipped with diving boards, slides and water basketball, for some friendly competition!

The Hope and Care Center opened in November 2011 and is used by Marines and sailors from the Wounded Warrior Battalion- West. The Center has the 25-meter outdoor pool, that is used for water fitness, and the “indoor therapy pool, used for small group and one-one-one therapy, fitness and conditioning.” Williams explains that the underwater treadmill is the key piece that the programs are designed around. The underwater treadmill is used for guided rehab activities.

“Then we lower them down in to the water, and we can take it to 6 feet or as shallow as 1 foot, based on height and what they need to do. We do anywhere from walking on the treadmill in the water to running, and we have the jets that we can turn on the create more resistance in the water, which they can walk and run against.”- Lisa Williams

In fact, this custom swimming pool has become quite popular among the Marines and is a significant tool to remain in shape as well as to get healthy again. The pools and aquatic programs at MCB Camp Pendleton are quite unique, but extremely effective. One in particular is the Warrior Athlete program, which is utilized throughout the Hope and Care Center, in and out of the water. This program uses therapeutic recreational principles to help the Marines transition back to their unit or civilian life. Williams uses many activities such as swimming, surfing, kayaking, basketball or volleyball to get them involved, interacting and active again.

The main goal for Williams is to have the Marines happy, healthy and back to doing what they love, and with the variety of resources and tools on base, this goal can be surpassed.

For more information on how you can support our wounded warriors, click here.

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