- Posted March 4, 2011 by
Mount Washington, British Columbia
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
The Wounded Warrior Project in the USA estimates that over 40,000 members of the US armed forces have been physically wounded serving in current military conflict zones.
The road to recovery can be a difficult one, but it's also a mind game. You can choose to walk or run your way to rehabilitation...or, as I recently discovered, if you are like a crew of wounded vets I met who are participating in the Soldier On Program... you can chose to snowboard and ski it.
Both the Wounded Warriors Project in the USA and the Soldier On Program in Canada are non-profits serving wounded Afghanistan and Iraq vets. Their adaptive sports training programs and events run throughout the year "to maximize rehabilitation and live active and healthy lives."
Many events put on by Canada's Soldier On program are offered in cooperation with similar programs in other countries. That's how I met Private Damien Thomlinson, a member of the Australian army's 2nd Commando Regiment -- the most elite, specialized and DANGEROUS division of the Australian army. He was one of the vets participating in a Solider On event at Mount Washington, BC.
Sitting down with Damien, I began to understand just how he qualified for such an elite Australian military unit. His mental strength is unparalleled. Despite having lost both of his legs to an IED blast on April 3rd 2009, in Afghanistan, this young Private is hardly phased by his life's turn of events. In fact, like many of the others I had the honor of meeting at Mount Washington, he is a great sport about it. Literally. In fact, to see Damien glide down the slopes on his snowboard, you'd have a hard time picking him out from other mountain pros!
You won't want to miss this interview.
DID YOU KNOW?
Recovering WWII veterans were actually a major driving force that lead to the development of the modern paralympic sports movement.
For more information:
WOUNDED WARRIORS PROJECT, USA
SOLDIER ON, CANADA
Hosted and Presented by Percy von Lipinski
Associate Producer and Editor Tracy Bymoen