Wounded Warrior Project Joins Forces with The Fighting Irish

PR Newswire — September 28, 2016

NOTRE DAME, Ind., Sept. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Along with the
University of Notre Dame, Wounded Warrior Project®(WWP) hosted a workout and
physical health and wellness seminar at the university’s state-of-the-art
facilities. After a brief safety demonstration by the Notre Dame trainers and a
warm-up stretch to get limber, the injured warriors got down to business.

“My group started out riding stationary bikes and doing the exercise ropes you
whip around,” said Army veteran David Mendenhall. “We then went into the weight
room and practiced good form for exercises like dead lifting. In the agility
segment we used ladders to practice different footwork drills. The last part
centered on beneficial stretches for the core. All in all it was a really good
time.”

The workout was structured as a circuit with stations focusing on exercises at
varying levels of intensity, depending upon the needs and comfort levels of the
warriors. WWP staff interacted with the warriors during the workout, offering
instruction and encouragement where needed.

“We were constantly challenged to push ourselves and dig deeper,” explained Air
Force veteran Cynthia Nikolia. “The most difficult aspect of the workout for me
was keeping pace. Due to my disability, I have gained weight, and I was not sure
I would be able to handle the exercises. But I did, and I felt great afterward
for making it through the entire two hours of the workout.”

Physical activity and socializing with other veterans can help injured warriors
cope with stress and depression. In a WWP survey of the wounded veterans it
serves, nearly 47 percent say talking with other warriors boosts their ability
to manage their mental health, and 32 percent of warriors expressed physical
activity helps. WWP offers a variety of programs and services that assist
veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits
counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities.

WWP’s physical health and wellness programs are personalized to encourage
warriors, caregivers, and family members to reach physical health goals, while
also aiding with mental and emotional recovery from the invisible wounds of war.

When the injured warriors finished working out, they enjoyed a healthy lunch and
a guided tour of Notre Dame’s football facilities, made famous by the 1993 movie
“Rudy.” The tour and the staff made a big impression on David and Cynthia.

“You really do feel like a VIP when you go to these events,” David said. “The
trainers and staff were amazing and very professional. They were also open to
questions I had about my personal fitness goals, and they had answers to
everything I asked.”

“They cheered us on as we went through the stations,” Cynthia said. “One of the
most helpful things to me was when they thanked us for all we had done. That
made me feel great about being a veteran, and about my service to my country.
Due to my disability and a range of other conditions, I was not proud of my
service when I was first discharged from the Air Force. That is starting to
change.”

WWP programs offer settings that provide opportunities for injured veterans to
form bonds and reduce isolation, which is one of the most significant struggles
wounded warriors deal with after serving their country. It can be difficult
knowing how to overcome that challenge and rekindle bonds similar to those
formed in the military.

One such opportunity to reduce isolation is the WWP Peer Support program. Peer
support plays an important role in the recovery process as injured veterans rely
upon each other’s learned experiences when managing day-to-day challenges. All
WWP programs and services have an aspect of this support structure, while the
Peer Support program is solely dedicated to ensuring every injured veteran,
family member, and caregiver encourages one another in recovery, thus embodying
the WWP logo of one warrior carrying another off the battlefield.

“For various reasons, I have been kind of isolated with respect to other
warriors in my area, especially with people my own age,” Cynthia said. “I was
glad to meet other wounded warriors like me at this event. It changed my
perspective a bit; I’m not alone and there are others who are looking for that
support and friendship too. I also met a warrior with a service dog and got some
information from him about how he got his service dog. It’s something I am
looking into now.”

To learn more about how WWP’s programs and services are making an impact on the
lives of warriors, visit: http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.

About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded
Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for
the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid
and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to
meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in
Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit
woundedwarriorproject.org.

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SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project

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