When Veterans think of recreational therapy, they may think of a room with tables, treadmills, weights, cycles and a few elastic bands. But at VA the treatment includes activities such as rock climbing, painting, scuba diving or even golfing. The goal is to allow Veterans to return to their previously enjoyed activities or find new activities if a disability inhibits participation.

One of the Veteran’s favorite recreational therapy activities at the Tampa, Florida VA Medical Center is kayaking.

“It allows them to get out there and function as normal as possible. Water is great equalizer; we have people who have debility or issues with balance, pain. This is part of the Veteran’s treatment,” said Jamie Kaplan, a recreational therapist at the Tampa VAMC.

The physical challenge itself isn’t the only therapeutic benefit.

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“I think it will help me because you are pretty much by yourself and being by yourself lets you think about a lot of stuff… I get a good workout, physically and mentally,” said U.S. Army Veteran Luis Cortes.

VA Adaptive Sports holds Veteran events across the country every year to challenge Veterans and give them a competition to work towards.

Veterans can find activities to get involved with by speaking with their primary care physician, visiting their local VAMC’s recreation therapists or adaptive sports office.

Additionally, Veterans are encouraged to browse the VA active calendar to find events in his or her local community.

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Published on Feb. 25, 2016

Estimated reading time is 1.2 min.

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  1. Nathan Wallens February 26, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    I have,spinal and lower extremities pain and damage and was told the best exercise to help with pain and keeping my body muscles active was water exercise but was told by VA Doctor that they could not
    aproven the payment of a place for me to go to do water exercise even though I am 90% service connected

  2. USMC Corporal February 26, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    This is not new, if you are not at Hollywood style VA or a pre gulf vet, not retire vet etc you lost your value decades ago. Forget being treated as human and just because you are injured doing your job doesn’t mean you deserve to be thanked for your service either. No, the day’s of decency for you are long gone, just set aside the fact that your sacrifice, future, and health were destroyed. VA, DAV, and the rest of the alphabet decided to make every vet that isn’t politically “heroic “, wait to die quietly. What do you want, respect,? That’s to much to ask for from these morally bankrupt turds that were still shitting green as you stood watch on the wall. Good luck with that, you’re gonna need it. By the way I am 100 percent permanent and total spinal injury just so you know I have been there.

  3. John Thompson Attorney at Law February 26, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Where is this at Long Beach VA….we cannot even use the weight room allocated for the employees….we have no hot tubs or Jacuzzi to bath in or a swimming pool which was torn out to build useless buildings when they should have hired more competent doctors and other medical staff there….they rely on residents from a Third rate Medical School to staff the hospital…..that is how we are treated there

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