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RRC

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

A LETTER FROM THE COMMANDER

52afc-1 MRF's RRC in action

To date, there are over 34,000 service members have been physically wounded during the Iraq/Afghanistan war and an estimate of 300,000 suffer from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI). The overwhelming statics indicate that one-in-four discharged Iraq/Afghanistan veterans (nearly 200,000) who have filed disability claims, over 60,000 have been for mental health cases. More stunning in a 2009 article of the Seattle Weekly reported that several service members committed suicide after being discharged from the military. Military Medicine Journal estimated that over 30% of those who spend time in a war zone will develop some form of PTSD, and 2009 alone, nearly 80,000 soldiers have been officially diagnosed with PTSD. Most service members returning from combat have lost limbs (amputees) and/or wheelchair bound for life. However Soldiers dealing with amputated limbs are making progress and seeing them learn to walk again is powerful medicine.

MRF focus has now changed to assisting Wounded Warriors with their rehabilitation by launching a new program called REHABILITATION RACQUETBALL CLINICS (RRC). This program is unique because it is the only rehabilitation program designed to focus on both physical and mental attributes for the War-Fighter suffering from the affects of combat (PTSD / TBI / amputees and wheelchair bound patients). We have traveled to several Army and Marine Corps bases to establish these RRC's, which include:

  • Fort Dix / McGuire AFB, NJ
  • Walter Reed, Washington DC
  • Fort Jackson, SC
  • Fort Gordon, GA
  • Fort Benning, GA
  • Fort Bliss, TX

Our goal is run six racquetball sessions per year (each session will run 8wks long). Each session will have up to a maximum of 16 students per instructor. Classes will run twice a week and each class will run for two hours. Your funding of $250 to sponsor a student will allow them to receive a training manual, a beginner's racquet kit, and a competent racquetball instructor and court time.

Steven Harper,
Executive Director
Military Racquetball Federation

WHAT WE'VE ACCOMPLISHED WITH RRC

March 5, 2014

MID-ATLANTIC (RRC) EAST COAST RACQUETBALL CHALLENGE

01 MAR 2014, Fort Lee Army Base (Petersburg, VA): MRF does it again, this time on the East Coast! March 1st at the McCaughlin Fitness Center on Fort Lee Army Base, the Military Racquetball Federation (MRF) hosted its 2nd Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinic (RRC) Challenge where 9 disabled service members and wounded warriors, from the Mid-Atlantic area competed in a one-day Racquetball Challenge. Teams from Washington DC, Hampton VA, and Durham NC VA Medical Centers (VAMC) came to compete with the hopes of being this year's overall team winner. These service members recently completed the eight-week RRC program where they learned the fundamentals of racquetball and now had the chance to bring their skills to compete against fellow graduates. MRF was able to raise the awareness of what service members endure when they return home from the battlefield. This effort was possible thanks to the team that put all this together, Wayne Toyne of the Washington DC area and Bob Steele of Hampton Roads, were the coaches who ran the eight-week programs. At the conclusion of the competition, Ron Salon of the Durham NC (VAMC) was crowned the 2014 champion. The 2nd place winner was Robert Lawson of the Hampton VA (VAMC) and the overall Team winner for this year's event went to the Hampton VA (VAMC) posting the overall highest cumulative point total.

This weekend one-day RRC Challenge was a huge success because it brought veterans together to build camaraderie, make new friendships, and overall gave these Vets a new sense of confidence in themselves. One veteran even got emotional because she said, "MRF is one of those organizations that has truly changed her life because of the dedication MRF shows to the veterans. MRF is an organization that delivers what it says…."

Thanks to our sponsors and donors; CVRA, NCRA, RacquetWorld, E-Force, and Ektelon for their financial and product support to make these clinics possible.

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RRC

August 7, 2013

MRF TEAMS WITH THE NAVY WOUNDED WARRIOR – SAFE HARBOR PROGRAM

Two days of having fun with wounded warriors and disabled veterans proved how MRF is making a difference to those injured in combat. On August 1st and 2nd at the Norfolk Naval Base Waterfront Athletic Complex, MRF hosted a two-day racquetball clinic for 22 service members of the United States Navy and Coast Guard, teaching them adaptive racquetball. Many of the warriors who participated in the clinic were wheelchair bound because of their injuries. Some participants were a little apprehensive at first because they had never been exposed to racquetball but the event was a tremendous success. Instructors for the demonstration and clinic included Chip Parmelly (co-founder of wheelchair racquetball in the late 1980's), MRF Executive Director Steven Harper, and MRF volunteers Rabbit Rogers, U.S. Air Force, Orlando Mayo, U.S. Coast Guard, and Lam Le, USMC Retired. MRF and racquetball were part of the Navy's Recreational Adaptive Athletics Camp at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. This was a huge accomplishment as it was the first time racquetball has been included. Other sports that were part of the camp were; swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair lacrosse, and wheelchair tennis. The MRF demonstration will be followed by an 8 week Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinic (RRC) taught by MRF supporter and AMPRO certified Master Chief Mayo. The MRF's RRC program provides wounded warriors the opportunity to improve fundamentals while increasing strength, endurance, and most importantly confidence. The Navy's adaptive sports and reconditioning program provides year-round athletic opportunities for seriously wounded, ill or injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen.

The adaptive clinic was a huge success for the sport but would not have been possible if not for the support and trust of the following MRF sponsors and volunteers: Racquetworld, E-Force, Ektelon, RacquetSkinz, One Shot, and the USOC. The volunteers who assisted in putting all this together were: LT Meagan Haydel (CINC Navy Wounded Warrior – SAFE HARBOR Coordinator), Heather Campbell of the Bacik Group, Lam Le (USMC – Ret), Chip Parmelly of Dallas, TX, Master Chief Orlando Mayo (USCG), MSgt Fred "Rabbit" Rogers (USAF) and Steven Harper (LT CMDR USN Ret) .

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Additional information:
www.washingtonpost.com
www.miamiherald.com
www.thenewsfortoday.net
www.sfgate.com
www.wvva.com
www.ctpost.com
www.star-telegram.com

July 10, 2013

THE MILITARY RACQUETBALL FEDERATION (MRF) PARTNERS WITH THE NAVY WOUNDED WARRIOR – SAFE HARBOR PROGRAM

Another milestone was recently achieved when the Military Racquetball Federation joined forces with the Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor (NWW-SH) program. The program's adaptive sports and reconditioning program provides year-round athletic opportunities for seriously wounded, ill or injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. These athletic events help active-duty and retired service members discover new capabilities that they can apply to everyday challenges. As of 09 Jul 13, the NWW-SH Adaptive Sports program services nearly 20% of their enrolled population. At these events, wounded warriors participate in surfing, swimming, rowing, hunting, golf, tennis and a host of other sports. The sports are chosen to ensure the athletes have a multitude of events to participate in depending upon their wants and needs.

This August, at a Recreational Adaptive Athletics Camp at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., adaptive racquetball will be available for the first time to wounded warriors. This unique opportunity is significant to the racquetball community because it may result in future opportunities to introduce adaptive racquetball to the wounded warrior community as whole. When asked by Steven Harper, MRF –Executive Director how meaningful this was, he replied; "this is huge for MRF and the sport of racquetball. We have been trying for at least two years to introduce clinics like these to wounded warriors during their camps and this could lead to other branches to follow. This is one of those opportunities knocking on our door….. I was stationed in Norfolk, Va. for five years of my Navy career, and this is such a blessing to be able to go back home where I learned how to play racquetball. We want to thank the Navy for giving us this opportunity to expose those Sailors and Coast Guardsmen to a sport we truly love!"

More clinics and programming like these will need help from volunteers. If you would like to get involved, please visit the "CONTACT" section and e-mail / call for more information.

[ press release ]

November 13, 2012

MRF GAINS MOMENTUM... AND A NEW FOUNDED PARTNERSHIP WITH U.S. OYLMPIC COMMITTEE (USOC) AND THE VETERAN AFFAIRS

It is a new and exciting time for the MRF, as a new founding partnership with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), which receives financial support from the Department of Veteran Affairs. This opportunity will allow the Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinics (RRC) program to go nation-wide. The MRF was a recent recipient of a grant from the USOC funding the opportunity to advance the RRC program for both wounded service members (Wounded Warriors) and Veterans to learn the sport of racquetball fundamentals, build self-confidence (regain the "War-Fighting" spirit), and meet new fellow Wounded Warriors / Veterans – leading to an improved core de 'spirit. Per the USOC's tag line, "Grant funding for this program is awarded by U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, through funding provided by Veterans Affairs. The grants are provided to facilitate the growth of Paralympic-sport programming for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces."

MRF has been in operation since 2009, hosting racquetball tournaments and demonstrations on military bases to increase awareness of the benefits of racquetball for "Wounded Warriors". These clinics and demonstrations are designed to instruct up to 24 students per clinic. Each clinic runs for 6 weeks for a total of 8 clinics per year, equating to 192 students that could be potentially reached. Students receive Training Manuals and Racquetball Starter-Kits, along with instruction from local certified racquetball instructors. Statics of 2011 show there are over 37,000 service members who been physically wounded during Iraq/Afghanistan and an estimated 450,000 suffer from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). One in 5 returning troops are being diagnosed with serious PTSD and less than 40% will seek help. On average, five active-duty troops attempt suicide EACH DAY. In 2011, a record breaking year for suicides in the service, 312 soldiers killed themselves.

For many wounded service members and veterans, these clinics are the first steps to normalcy after losing a limb or suffering mental disabilities. Currently, MRF is taking its RRC program to Long Island, NY; Warren, NJ; Prescott, AZ; Durham / Fayetteville, NC; Balboa Naval Medical Center (San Diego, CA), and Brooke Army Medical Center (San Antonio, TX) to teach veterans in these respective regions; however there are new areas where VA Medical Centers and military installations that are requesting these clinics at their local facilities. Our clinics have directly impacted the participants' level of endurance, strength and overall weight management. If you are interested in supporting MRF and disabled service members (veterans and/or active duty personnel), please contact us at MRF (www.militaryracquetball.com) for more detail information on how you might be to assist in your local area.

[ press release ]

October 6, 2012

MRF BEGINS WORK WITH VA MEDICAL CENTERS

During the 3WB CHAMPIONSHIPS, Steven Harper of MRF's RRC program, made a special trip to Prescott, AZ to give a one-day demonstration to 12 veterans of the Northern Area VA Medical Center in Prescott, AZ. The planning and coordination was only possible with the help of the staff and volunteers in the local area; which included, Ms. Paula Moran – VA Recreational Therapist, Pepe Rolfberg – VA Recreational Coordinator, Ben Sialega – volunteer, and the leader of this event, Jerry Northwood of the Prescott Downtown Athletic Club (Prescott, AZ). Also we extend a thank you to the management of the Prescott Downtown Athletic Club. (PDAC), Georgia McGee & Heidi for the use of their facility. This was a significant event, because this is the first time that the VA at local or national level has allowed any racquet sport to be used as rehabilitation as an Adaptive Sport program. This is key because other VA medical centers nation-wide are now considering to allow MRF to lead the way at their respective hospitals and medical centers. Currently, in the works are the Mid-Atlantic region (which includes the Durham / Fayetteville, NC and even the Long Island, NY) VA Medical Centers to bring this sport in as rehabilitation to a wide range of veterans.

May 16, 2012

MRF DEMO AT BALBOA NAVAL HOSPITAL SAN DIEGO, CA

Balboa Naval Hospital

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April 13th, 2012: San Diego, CA – It has been almost three years since an adaptive racquetball clinic was conducted at Balboa Naval Hospital for wounded service members. However, this past Wednesday (April 11th, 2012) Military Racquetball Federation (MRF) had the unique opportunity to a host a one-day racquetball demonstration in the Fitness Center (Bldg. 12) on base to several Wounded Warriors.

Special Thanks goes to the staff of the Recreational Rehabilitation Clinic (specifically, Ms. Marla Knox, Trish Betts of the Military Paralympics, and Maggie Hannon – Marine Liaison), who oversaw the demonstration, ensuring that the service members who participated would not stress any existing injuries. This event would not have been possible without the help and coordination of Mr. Jeff Stuart – the Athletic Director of the Fitness Center (Bldg 12). The day began at 0800 with a unit of Army soldiers who participated in the first segment of this one day event. Instead of the soldiers doing their standard PT session, they joined the staff of MRF to go through some basic racquetball drills to practice. Next, the soldiers threw frisbees to simulate a backhand swing. Then a group of 10 - 12 soldiers started hitting basic forehand and backhand drills in the racquetball courts. This session was broken up into 2 smaller groups where they could get more individual attention from the pro's / volunteers of MRF. Rhonda Rajsich – one of the top professional woman on the pro-tour of racquetball taught a Army group fundamental skills and strategy of racquetball, while Aaron Embry – who was a pro-tour competitor on the national pro-racquetball circuit and a certified instructor, took his group and showed them proper grip techniques for holding the racquet. Both groups merged together later to play a couple of games against each other. As these games were played, spectators within the gym started to observe the Army warriors with curiosity and respect for their abilities and courage. Many commented that they hadn't seen racquetball taught in this manner before.

Later that morning after about a 45-minute break, MRF had the opportunity to teach another group of wounded service members from several different branches stationed at Balboa receiving rehabilitative therapy. In the late-morning/afternoon session, there were members from the Marines, Army and Navy who participated in the demonstration. There were approximately 18 participants learning this new adaptive sport. The one thing that was a "game changer", was the use of a softer foam ball instead of the traditional hard rubber racquetball. These new softer balls were crucial in helping the students have more time to react to the ball.

Overall, Wednesday was a great day for racquetball and MRF because we were able to provide a new and different adaptive sport to some brave service members. We would have not been able to make this event possible if it were not for our sponsors, RacquetWorld, E-Force, and Ektelon. To all of our sponsors, we thank you for such an event.

May 6, 2012

OMEGA PSI PHI FRATERNITY, INC. DONATES $7,400 TOWARD RRC

OMEGA PSI PHI

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The Mighty 6th District OMEGA PSI PHI Fraternity, Inc. supporting our Troops with a major donation ($7,400 towards the RRC's in the Carolina's)!

Greenville, SC; April 29, 2012 – THANK YOU to the Men of the 6th District of OMEGA PSI PHI Fraternity Inc! On behalf of MILITARY RACQUETBALL FEDERATION (MRF), we can NOT say enough how Thankful we are to accept your monetary donation of $7,400 in support of our Rehabilitative Racquetball Clinics for severely wounded service members. As a non-profit organization, we have been in operation since 2009 to improve the quality of life of "WOUNDED WARRIORS" through rehabilitation. With limited financial resources, we have only been able to touch a few of service members' lives; however with this funding, we will now be able to fully continue our mission in North and South Carolina at several military bases. Our Racquetball Clinics is a means to promote physical fitness, increase morale of the service members, and to build a stronger support network for the service members' families.

This major feat of a national historic black fraternity to support our effort has been in the works for months. One of the fraternity's aim is all about community service and a couple of months ago, Steven Harper (a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity) approached the local chapter at Fort Bragg (TAU GAMMA GAMMA) on the idea of supporting a Rehabilitation Clinic at Fort Bragg. This idea expounded well beyond anyone's imagination, because at that same meeting, the North and South Carolina District Representative (Brother Victor Bruinton) heard the presentation and was so impressed of the idea of helping wounded service members, he took this idea back to the District Executive Council for discussion. After debate and discussion, it was voted on and approved that the 6th District of OMEGA PSI PHI Fraternity, Inc saw the good deed of helping a falling soldier by donating $7,400 to fund the MRF''s RRC's program within the Carolina's!!

With this funding, MRF is already in preparation stages of launching a "Family-Day" exhibition at Fort Bragg , NC. The plan is within the next 60 days, MRF will host a 2-day outdoor racquetball extravaganza to where over 500 Wounded Warriors and their families will be exposed to two outdoor racquetball courts, food, and a "jumpie / bouncy" playground area for the children to not only promote to the sport of racquetball but also to promote family and physical and mental health for the soldier. MRF is also working Fort Jackson, SC Wounded Warrior Unit to have a more direct impact with their wounded soldiers rehabilitation plan through more of adaptive sports program. These are just some of the immediate initiatives that we are working on. Again, none of these plans would ever be possible without the vision and belief of the 6th District Executive Council. Men of Omega, we at MRF can not thank you enough for having belief in what we are doing to support our community and service members through healing.

March 17, 2012

MANNINO / MRF APPEARANCE AT SCOTT AFB TO SUPPORT RRC

Jason Mannino

JASON MANNINO at Scott AFB

On March 14th Jason Mannino visited Scott AFB. The purpose of the visit was to help raise money for the Military Racquetball Federation Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinics (MRF/RRC). After taking a tour of the Boeing C40C Command aircraft and the 618th Air and Space Operation Center, they were off to the gym. There Jason was supposed to play 5 time World Champion Sudsy Monchik in and exhibition game. Unfortunately due to injury, Sudsy was unable to attend. Instead Scott Base Champion Jerry Turley got the honor. After the game, Jason spent an hour answering questions with the base players. Then in true Jason Mannino fashion, it was back to the court where he played 8 other people, giving them the opportunity of a life time.

[ PHOTO GALLERY ]

Thanks to the IRT, Racquetworld, Ektelon, E-Force, Wilson, Gearbox, Tri-cor Industries, Regal Midwest, and the Men and Women of the MRF: Scott Chapter, they were able to raise $1200 in support of MRF/RRC for Wounded Service Members.

January 25, 2012

Fort Jackson RRC

[ PHOTO GALLERY ]

It has been almost a year ago since MRF was at Fort Jackson, Columbia SC conducting a RRC (Rehabilitation Racquetball Clinic) for the Army's Wounded Warriors Regiment. This past weekend (19th and 20th of January), we had the opportunity to go back to Fort Jackson to host another two-day racquetball demonstration for a new regiment of Wounded Warriors.

Fort Jackson RRC

Fort Jackson Rehabilitation Racquetball Clinic

This time, we were able to gain a lot more support thanks to several faculty-members there on post. MRF owes a big Thanks to MAJ K. Troy (Commander of the WTU – WOUNDED WARRIOR TRANSISTION UNIT), SSG Vaughan - Adaptive Sports, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the WTU, and Ms. Coretta Bradley, Program Manager - Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), and to our sponsors RacquetWorld, Ektelon, and E-Force. On Thursday (19JAN), we briefed our intent to start several 8-week Rehabilitation Racquetball Programs to several members at Fort Jackson, which included the Installation Chaplain, Program Manager of the Risk Reduction Program Coordinator, Physical Therapist of Moncrief Army Community Hospital and the South Carolina chapter of the American Red Cross. All participants were definitely impressed on the upcoming clinics provided by MRF. As an add on feature, Pets for Vets, Ms. Sally Aartun – Board of Director member also gave a brief on their organization's mission to save pets that were scheduled to be put-down / destroyed. The animals can now be saved through adoption by Wounded Warriors and Veterans there on or near post. Although this concept is still in the beginning stages, again, anything that will assist soldiers and veterans to get back to healthy, stable lives is always a positive thing.

Friday (20JAN) was a fulfilled day of racquetball. Senior Chief Jeff Hill, SFC Marcia Roberts (one of MRF's Advisory Council Member) and Steven Harper of MRF gave a racquetball demonstration to approximately 55 Wounded Warriors of the WTU. At first, the Warriors were a little hesitant to participate and to get involved with the clinic, but after SFC Roberts gave her story on how racquetball actually helped her get back into life, they realized that anything is definitely possible. During the clinic, there was the traditional flag-ceremony with the Warriors involvement and then onto learning the fundamentals of the game. Senior Chief Hill taught both fore-hand back-hand drills, then the day ended with most the Warriors playing each other with the new designed foam ball (critical for teaching Warriors and gaining confidence)! When a survey was conducted, most of the Warriors said although they had never seen racquetball presented like this in a clinic form, they were eager to take the MRF clinic and even participating in some upcoming tournaments….. One soldier even said how the clinic actual helped him to cope with his PTSD and anger-management symptoms just by hitting the foam ball.

Overall, with the potential of not only teaming up with the WTU and starting our first 8-week 2012 racquetball clinic some time at the beginning of February, there is even discussion on how the clinic might be offered to soldier's family members and civilian contracted employees as a form of suicide prevention. We at MRF are ecstatic to have the new opportunity to be able to bring a clinic to Fort Jackson thanks to some dedicated and special staff and volunteers in Columbia SC.

November 7, 2011

WOUNDED SOLDIERS LEARN TO GET BACK IN THE GAME

Ch11 News

[ View Story ]

August 29, 2011

RRC PROGRAM SPECIAL GUEST TO BE AT VEGAS CHARITABLE EVENT IN SUPPORT OF WOUNDED WARRIORS

Morris-Roberts

Staff Sergeant (SSG) US Army Marcia B. Morris-Roberts... In March 2010, her life was changed forever... diagnosed with (Systemic Erythamotosis Lupus), her hands and feet turned necrotic (black tissue), and ultimately turned to gangrene because she had suffered from frost-bite while attending school in TN...

[ Full Story ]

July 7, 2011

IRT JOINS MRF TO SUPPORT TROOPS AND WOUNDED WARRIORS

IRT and MRF

The men's professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) has partnered with Military Racquetball Federation (MRF), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, to enhance its ongoing programs while raising the level of public awareness for the group's efforts. The MRF promotes and supports racquetball events for service members in the United States and abroad, including in war zones, while also assisting wounded warriors with rehabilitation.

Steven Harper, LCDR USN (Ret.) and MRF Executive Director commented on the impact of the agreement. "The union between the IRT and MRF is enormous! This will give us the ability to promote healing and fitness for service members who were severely injured in combat while also increasing their exposure to racquetball professionals. Additionally, having the IRT as a partner will give us even more credibility when briefing the higher echelon of the military on our contribution to helping those in their rehabilitation needs. We definitely welcome this partnership with the IRT as we move forward in our endeavors."

The two organizations have a history of cooperation, noted by MRF Co-Founder, Hank Marcus. "The IRT and its players have supported MRF, beginning with the exhibitions on the USS BONHOMME RICHARD based in San Diego. This agreement creates a true partnership that will benefit our troops here in the United States, overseas, and our Wounded Warriors involved in the MRF Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinics program. IRT brings a unique exposure to the MRF cause."

Jason and Steven

Jason Mannino and Steven Harper

The professional athletes who compete on the IRT will have specific opportunities to work with service members, according to IRT President, Jason Mannino. "It is a personal, and professional honor for me to support the United States Military. The IRT players are excited for the opportunity to help the MRF grow awareness of our sport. From what I understand, there are over five hundred racquetball courts on military bases throughout the world, and, in the near future, I would like to see IRT players speaking to our troops about the mental and physical benefits of racquetball."

Look for many of the top racquetball professionals to make appearances at MRF events, display the MRF logo, and participate in a series of fundraisers and cross promotions organizational websites, Facebook, and other media outlets.

The IRT is the governing body of Men's Professional Racquetball. For additional information contact Jen Sinclair Johnson, IRT Director of Communications, Jen@IRT-Tour.com; 39252 Winchester Road, #107-413, Murrieta, CA 92563

MRF is a 501(c) (3) tax-deductible corporation run and staffed exclusively by volunteers. For additional information contact Steven Harper, MRF Co-Founder, steven@militaryracquetball.com

MRF is dedicated to promoting racquetball programs and events for United States service members home and abroad, including support of events for our troops in war zones. Additionally, the MRF is committed to assisting Wounded Warriors with their rehabilitation through the Racquetball Rehabilitation Clinics (RRC). This program's focus is the use of racquetball as rehabilitation for both the physical and mental challenges suffered from combat.

June 20, 2011

RUBEN GONZALEZ AT FORT DIX

Fort Dix

[ Photo Gallery ]

This past week, MRF made another impact in the Tri-State area. Soldiers of the Wounded Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) had the opportunity to learn from the Legend, Ruben Gonzalez and other great racquetball players who helped host another RRC (Rehabilitation Racquetball Clinic) at Fort Dix/McGuire AFB. The clinic was a huge success primarily because of some special guests speakers such as Ray Davis of Racquetball Roundtable, WNJC 1360 AM radio station (who also broadcasts a live show every Tuesday evening on topics dealing w/ the sport of racquetball), Jon Clay - President of Rollout Marketing Solutions Clothing / Apparel line, Tony Gattone and Aki Moore (who will be the RRC instructors for the WTU at Fort Dix as the program continues). This one-day demonstration comprised of soldiers and airmen going through several racquetball exercises to understand how to hit a "forehand" and "backhand". After they went through some fundamental drills, they then had the opportunity to get on the courts and play with Ruben. From here we will have another successful 8 week clinic running mainly because of the time and expertise donated by Tony & Aki from the local area.

Joint Base MDL (McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst) is located 18 miles southeast of Trenton, NJ and their primary missions include; a center of excellence for training, mobilizing and deploying Army Reserve and National Guard units. It also provides regional base operations support to on-post and off-post active and reserve component units of all services; and provides a high-quality community environment, including 848 housing units for service members and their families. This base is also home to the 84th Air Base Wing and the 305th Air Mobility Wing, which has supported every major type of air mobility mission over the past 15 years. There are more than 13,500 persons who live or work within the garrison and its tenant organizations.

April 9, 2011

CENTER OF INTREPID - SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

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MRF'S RACQUETBALL REHABILITATION CLINIC PROGRAM VISITS SAN ANTONIO - COURAGE, BRAVERY, and RELENTLESSNESS…

San_Antonio

Brave soldiers injured in combat either in Iraq or Afghanistan are now improving their lives at the CENTER OF INTREPID (CFI) or the WOUNDED WARRIOR TRANSISTION BATTALION (WTB) at Fort Sam Houston Army Base in San Antonio, TX. Our 3-day adventure (April 4th thru the 6th) started out on Monday, where MRF had the unique opportunity to take a special tour of the INTREPID (this place is known to the soldiers on their long road to recovery), thanks to Kathy Rasmussen – the Center's Health System Specialist. This $50 million-dollar four-story 65,000 square foot facility was donated by over 600,000 Americans through private donations. Patients are challenged by state-of-the-art physical and occupational therapy, demanding and challenging sports equipment, and virtual reality systems. They benefit from individualized case management, access to behavioral medicine services, and in-house prosthetic fitting and fabrication. The Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN) provides virtual reality training, the Motion Analysis Lab allows specialists to detect gait deviations not discernable to the naked eye. The CAREN is a 21ft dome w/ a 300 degree screen upon which a variety of "virtual realities" (real-life imagery of different environments) to where service members are integrated into the environment – just as a true Avatar! This simulator is the first of its kind in the world. During a typical week, 140-145 different patients are seen. During the first year of operation, there were over 28,000 patient visits documented at the CFI. The Center is dedicated to those service members severely wounded whose selfless sacrifices for our nation entitled them to the best rehabilitative care possible.

Facebook video link:
ONE DAY SPENT W/ WOUNDED WARRIORS AT FORT SAM HOUSTON:

MRF's Shi T. Ting of Raleigh, NC, Herman Brooks, USMC (Ret), Mustafa Salaam, US Army (Ret) and Tracey Robinson of Arlington, TX came together to spend 3 days to share their wealth of insight and knowledge of racquetball with soldiers who had never experienced this sport before. On Tuesday morning (April 5th), we started our day by making "roll-call" with the WTB Company (approximately 80 wounded soldiers), our day was filled by teaching introductory drills, fundamentals of racquetball and actual court play. Spending time with the soldiers would not have been possible without the help and approval from MAJ Statham, MSG Zitta, SFC Smith, and SSG Johnson who helped coordinated this event. The Occupational Therapists are the key link to the soldiers' recovery and to making this 3-day RRC event possible. Special thanks to Dr. Sheryl Michel OTD,OTR/L, Patricia Arzola, Curtis Johnson (Recreational Therapist and former Track & Field Olympian of 2000), and Darrell Gerik (Physical Therapist) who all understand the vision and direction of MRF's RRC.

Facebook video link:
AN INTERVIEW W/ THE CAPTAIN

We were also truly impressed during our last day of our clinic / demonstration by some of the relentless soldiers like that of CPT Ryan Miller, US Army (a graduate of West Point Academy and the cousin to the 5 time world champion – Sudsy Monchik). Ryan was severely injured in combat when a road-side bomb hit his vehicle, causing him to loose his leg. However, that does not stop CPT Miller at all, because before our demonstration, he had just completed a bicycle ride called "Ride 2 Recovery: Texas Challenge" – cycling between 65 to 75 miles a day from Austin to Arlington, TX with a special prosthetic leg! Others Warriors like CPT JJ Guerrero who also lost his leg in a road-side bomb, also competed in four different "Ride 2 Recovery" (R2R), which included; California Challenge (cycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles) twice, Texas Challenge, San Antonio to Dallas, and the Memorial Day Challenge, Washington, DC to Va. Beach, VA (each of these rides, he would average riding over 80 miles a day on a bike - INCREDIBLE!!). He also competed in the 2010 Warrior Games (an inter-service competition), in Colorado Springs, May 10 – taking a Gold medal in air riffle shooting. SSG Marcia Morris-Roberts who is a single mother of 3, yet is competing in this year's Paralympics swim meet in Colorado and she just recently learned how to swim! She was also the recipient of a special racquet personally donated by Herman Brooks. These soldiers are TRUE HEROES and RELENTLESS STUDS!! Although wounded, they still are doing more than the average American citizen. They GET BACK UP and GET BACK INTO THE FIGHT! Our hats go off to them.

Facebook video link:
ANOTHER TESTIMONY FROM THE SOLDIERS

Always a special THANKS to RacquetWorld, Ektelon, and E–Force for the support to make these events truly possible! This event would not have been possible if not for the staff at Jimmy Brought Fitness Center; Doug Price (USAF- Ret), Al Boone, Lucian Kimble, and Ruby Sanchez. MRF's RRC program continues to expand with interest from bases throughout the United States.

March 1, 2011

MRF RRC PROGRAM MAKES A STOP IN
NEW JERSEY AT FORT DIX/MCGUIRE AFB

Fort Dix

[ Photo Gallery ]

MRF made another impact this past weekend in the Tri-State area. Soldiers of the Wounded Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) had the opportunity to participate in RRC (Rehabilitation Racquetball Clinic) in conjunction with MRF's Joint Forces North Eastern Regional Tournament held at Fort Dix/McGuire AFB. This clinic was a huge success primarily because of some surprise guests speakers such as Scott Winters, Vice President of Ektelon, Philip Chapman – US Marine Corps (Ret) a veteran who is an amputee injured during service in the Vietnam War, Craig Cassuci – Ektelon sponsored player and this weekend's tournament director, SFC Edwards of the WTU, and Steven Harper of the MRF. This demonstration comprised of soldiers and airmen going through several racquetball exercises to understand how to hit a "forehand" and "backhand". After they learned a couple of fundamental drills, they then had the opportunity to get on the courts and play both Scott Winters and Phil Chapman in some single's matches. Overall, there were approximately 20 soldiers who participated in the daylong event. By the end of the day, there were 20 soldiers who were new racquetball players!

Joint Base MDL (McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst) is located 18 miles southeast of Trenton, NJ and their primary missions include; a center of excellence for training, mobilizing and deploying Army Reserve and National Guard units. It also provides regional base operations support to on-post and off-post active and reserve component units of all services; and provides a high-quality community environment, including 848 housing units for service members and their families. This base is also home to the 84th Air Base Wing and the 305th Air Mobility Wing, which has supported every major type of air mobility mission over the past 15 years. There are more than 13,500 persons who live or work within the garrison and its tenant organizations.

After the clinic concluded, the following day (Saturday), the McGuire AFB Fitness Center was overrun by a multitude of players who competed in the MRF Joint Force North Eastern Regional Racquetball Tournament. The tournament grew from last year's 30 players to 51 this year who competed over the two-day shootout. There were even Cadets from West Point who competed in this year's tournament, with the anticipation of competing at this year's annual MRF National Championships that will be held in San Diego in November. Special thanks to tournament director Craig Cassuci, Floyd Winters, Jim Weathers and his staff for another success story for MRF, growing the sport of racquetball within the military community!

February 14, 2011

FORT JACKSON'S
WOUNDED WARRIOR REGIMENT

Fort Jackson

[ Photo Gallery ]

MRF is definitely on the way in making the RRC (Rehabilitation Racquetball Clinic) an accepted program within the Army's Wounded Warriors Regiment. This past February, Steven Harper of the MRF had the opportunity to give a two-day racquetball clinic to the Wounded Warriors at Fort Jackson, Columbia SC.

Fort Jackson is the United States Army's Training Center where it trains the Trainers in support of full spectrum operations; receives and transforms volunteers into Soldiers who are able to function effectively in their first unit of assignment. This base is also home to the Army's Drill Sergeant School and the Army's NCO Academy.

The MRF had the opportunity to give a two day clinic for approximately 30 Wounded Warriors. Thanks to the Cadre of: CPT Troy, 1ST Miller, SSGT Bell, SSGT Laureano, and our local native instructor Jack, who all made this event possible. The MRF is definitely focused on the Mission of Helping our Troops injured in combat, and thanks to those at Fort Jackson - this vision is becoming clearer......

Fort Jackson

The flag that you see here came directly from our comrades at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan; who we also THANK for their support.
(VADM Harward, CMC Edwards and LtCol Cleaver)

We look forward to continuing on our progress with the RRC and our Wounded Warriors!

January 16, 2011

MRF Rehabilitation Racquetball Clinic Kick Off
- Fort Gordon, GA

Fort Gordon

[ Photo Gallery ]

One of the main focuses for MRF has been to integrate racquetball as a method of rehabilitation for our wounded warriors. To that end we are happy to announce our progress with the beginning of an 8 week training program at Fort Gordon, Georgia. The MRF Rehabilitation Racquetball Clinic involving 10 to 12 NCO commanders of the various companies is designed to teach the commanders how to teach racquetball to their charges. Over 200 wounded warriors from Alpha, Bravo & Charlie companies went through the introductory clinic.

Fort Gordon Demo

(L-R) Teneshia Davis, COTA/L (Certified Occupational Therapy Asst/Licensed), Susanne Steele, COTA/L, Steven Harper, MRF Executive Director, Madalyn Weber, Dir of Programs/Service, CMFA, Mark Campbell, ACEP (Army Center Enhance Performance), Christy Freeman, ACEP (L-R) Judie Thompson, OTR, Jeff Snover, CMFA Executive Director

Our volunteer instructors, Steven Harper of NC, Bob Miller of Augusta and Ray Domyslawski of Augusta, as well as a few others, braved the elements of a freak snow storm at the beginning of January to pursue this program and see it through.

There has been positive response from the commanders of Ft. Gordon as well as the community with the Columbia County Patriots Park Recreation Center under the coordination of Mr. Robbie Kiser offering its courts to be used as additional training facilities whenever there is a need. This is a military town and it is heartening to see the outreach.

Fort Gordon Demo

(L-R) Steven Harper, MRF Executive Director, LTC Edwin Larkin, Commander WTB (Wounded Transition Battalion)

From here, we go to Fort Jackson in South Carolina to duplicate the RRC program for another WTU (Warrior Transitional Unit) - of 120 soldiers and begin to move it into the Army's normal rehabilitation rotation.

Thanks to Mr. Jeff Snover, Executive Director of CMFA for making this event and a new 8wk Rehabilitation Racquetball Clinic (RRC) possible

cmfa-logo

November 5, 2010

A day with Soldiers at Fort Benning, GA

32nd ST / MCRD San Diego

Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB)
at Fort Benning, GA

Photos of this event

A day spent with some Wounded Warriors will be a day that won't be soon forgotten. This past October, MRF hosted a one-day racquetball demonstration for the Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Benning, GA.

At Wright Hall fitness center, the Battalion (which had over 110 Soldiers to participate) was broken up into three small groups; from there, the Soldiers were introduced to fundamental racquetball drills. Under the instruction of Steven Harper, they used frisbees donated by Ektelon to develop a beginner's backhand. They also used special practice balls to understand how to hit a forehand. The Soldiers also learned the concept of "footwork" and court position. They were then given the opportunity to play among themselves to see what racquetball competition felt like.

Thanks to the help of William Gill and Pedro Maladero from E-Force, Jata Johnson and CDR David Flynn (Ret), who helped tremendously with fundamental stroke techniques. Also a huge Thanks to Ms. Cobb and SFC (US Army) Ronald Black of the WTB to coordinate and assemble these efforts. Without their assistance, this demonstration wouldn't have been a success! We also would like to thank the USAR for their support to make this event possible.

MRF looks forward to working with other bases in the near future. If you would like to be part of MRF and become a volunteer on any of our upcoming programs, please contact us.

August 13, 2010

A DAY AT WALTER REED WITH SOME WOUNDED WARRIORS

Houston Walter Reed Army Medical Center

WALTER REED, Washington DC; August 11th, 2010 - WOW! What an amazing day we had at WALTER REED Army Medical Center; the greatest opportunity to play some racquetball with some very special and talented Wounded Warriors. Michael Carrasquillo (an Army Sergenant Wounded Warrior), Amp (Chapter President of Fort Belvoir), Kevin (an Active Duty Army Soldier - currently serving in the DC area) and myself (Steven Harper - MRF, Executive Director) spent a day teaching 20 some Wounded Warriors the fundamentals of racquetball. Some of these Warriors are dealing with unique, yet serious combat injuries but still find the courage and strength to keep getting back up. The theme at WALTER REED is, although life is tough and has handed you a sour lemons, you must choose to make lemon-aide. That's what our students who participated in this one-day demonstration feed on....... some of their injuries were loss of limbs (amputees - either they lost one or both legs in combat), wheelchair bound patients, some suffering with PTSD/Depression, and even one Warrior was a quadro-paraplegic (meaning he had lost both arms and legs) but he still PLAYED RACQUETBALL FOR THE DAY! - - Real Courage!!

[ Photo Gallery ]

Special Thanks to E-Force, RacquetWorld and Team Ektelon and because of their huge Support of MRF, we were able to give away several racquets, bags and other goodies. Our day was filled with drills such as; the Medicine ball - throwing it against the wall to develop sound core muscles, tossing frisbees to define a backhand, and other training tools.

Walter_Reed

All in all, each Warrior appeared to have a Great time, but it was us at MRF who were Honored just to have a moment to spend a day with those who sacrificed for this Great Country. I have to say a special Thank You to Ms. Tiffany Smith, Ms. Penny Miller, and Mr. Harvey Naranjo of WALTER REED Military Advance Training Center (MATC) who allowed us to spend a day with their Wounded Warriors.

MRF will be looking forward to work more with WALTER REED to continue our efforts to actually teach more at the Medical Center...... Stay tuned for more upcoming information on this new program.

(Disclaimer: Walter Reed Army Medical center does not endorse any financial support for this organization's efforts)

Steven Harper, USN (Ret)
Executive Director, MRF
steven@militaryracquetball.com

May 11, 2010

ANOTHER AMBASSADOR FOR MILITARY
RACQUETBALL AND WOUNDED WARRIORS

MORE PHOTOS

Chris_Coy

Chris Coy

[read his full story]
Chris Coy – What an Amazing Story!! This future racquetball champion, Chris Coy was born with cancer in his stomach, which was discovered at five weeks of age. At three, he was diagnosed with a vascular infection that spread down his leg. The Coy family endured three years of chemotherapy and Chris's left foot and ankle were amputated at age four. He began preschool using a prosthetic limb below the knee.

Mar 24, 2010

MRF & WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT (WWP)
FORMALIZE RELATIONSHIPS

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Costa Mesa, CA; March 24, 2010 – The Military Racquetball Federation (MRF) has joined forces with the Wounded Warrior Project on a newly developed racquetball program for wounded warriors. The program will debut at the Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego. MRF will provide equipment and lessons at this center and plans to expand these efforts nationwide.

Steven Harper, MRF Executive Director, commented; "The Wounded Warrior Project is an invaluable organization supporting wounded warriors and their families who have made great sacrifices for their country. It is one of our priorities at the MRF to provide a portion of our rehabilitative services to these wounded warriors and offer them the opportunity to learn and ultimately compete in the sport of the racquetball."

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To date, over 34,000 members of our nation's armed forces have been physically wounded at war and studies estimate that more than 300,000 will suffer from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. WWP provides programs and services to assist injured veterans and their families during their recovery, rehabilitation and transition. Whether through caregiver retreats, benefits counseling, combat stress programs, career and education services, or adaptive sporting opportunities, Wounded Warrior Project's vision is to help make this generation of wounded warriors the most successful and well-adjusted in our nation's history.

About Wounded Warrior Project

The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower wounded warriors. Its purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service members, to help severely injured men and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, apolitical organization headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. To get involved and learn more, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

The Military Racquetball Federation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that was created to organize, promote, serve, and grow racquetball & fitness throughout all branches of the military worldwide. MRF is dedicated to the men & women, and their families, who are currently or have served our country here and abroad.

PROUD SUPPORTERS OF MRF & MILITARY RACQUETBALL

 

E-Force Ektelon Racquetworld.com
MRF Official Ball
Official Ball of MRF
NFRA wwp
Chick-fil-A OMEGA PSI PHI Macaroni Grill
The Mav DAC
LVAC LCRC
     

MRF & MILITARY RACQUETBALL AFFILIATES

 

World Outdoor Racquetball CSRA AERA NMRA
img NPRA img WFRA
USRA img img Classic Pro Racquetball Tour
3WallBall Lutz Foundation 3WallBall IRT