Aquatics Blog

A Different Approach to Rehabilitating our Wounded Soldiers

The cost of war is high.  As of April 2012, approximately 633,000 veterans -- one out of every four of the 2.3 million who served in Iraq and Afghanistan -- have a service-connected disability, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   

Returning US veterans, who have sacrificed so much for their country, are challenged to not only rehabilitate their bodies but their minds and acclimation into a new daily routine.  In 2007 the Department of Veteran Affairs opened the Center for the Intrepid National Armed Forces Rehabilitation Center at the Brooke Army Medical Center, in Fort Sam Houston.  Considered one of the most advanced rehabilitation facility in the world, Center for the Intrepid was designed for military patients and veterans with severe extremity injuries, amputations, and burns the facility’s goal is to rebuild their minds and bodies to regain their pre-injury abilities in a supportive, healing environment.   

Of the 49,000 Iraq and Afghanistan casualties, more than 1,400 have been amputees.  Among the amputees treated at the Center, 17% have returned to active military duty once recovered, with some eventually redeploying, often in support roles, and some returning to active combat. 

Working with the Smith Group, one of the nation’s largest A/E firms, Counsilman Hunsaker was honored to be enlisted as the aquatics specialist on the project.  The aquatics portion of the facility includes a 30 ft. by 50 ft. six lane split pool consisting of multiple water depths and accessible entry points. The intent of this pool was to provide numerous therapy and training programs including kayaking, water basketball and volleyball, water polo, and swimming for returning soldiers. 

A unique feature of the facility is the FlowRider, an indoor simulation of a natural ocean wave used to improve balance, coordination, motion, strength, motivation, and confidence. This feature’s propulsion technology creates an inclusive and exhilarating activity that’s safe and enjoyable way to progress the soldier’s rehabilitation of balance, coordination and strength. posted an inspiring story of the facility’s success with many moving photographs of veterans determined not to be defined by their injuries.  A link to the website can be found here: 

Counsilman Hunsaker supports our troops and wishes all the injured a speedy recovery and safe return. 

Link to additional information on the Center for the Intrepid


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