UK HealthCare

Military Veterans and Civilians Connect at Leadership ‘Boot Camp’ Hosted by UK Sports Medicine Research Institute

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Participants spent the weekend engaging in both social and physical activity
Vets and civilians participate in fitness exercises at the Johnson Center Fields
Vets and civilians participate in fitness exercises at the Johnson Center Fields
An 'Eagle Athlete' works alongside Dr. Nick Heebner in the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute facility
An 'Eagle Athlete' using SMRI equipment as part of an exercise

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2018) — Returning to civilian life after service often poses many challenges to veterans. For some, reestablishing a connection with their community can feel like its own battle. To help make the adjustment smoother, the University of Kentucky Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI) and Team Red, White & Blue joined forces to host the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Eagle Athlete Camp.

Team RWB is a national organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. There were more than 47,000 Team RWB events in the U.S. in 2017.

This year’s Eagle Athlete Camp, the first to be hosted at UK, brought veterans and civilian community leaders from around the region together for a weekend of leadership workshops interwoven with performance training. The workshop and activities all blend together to provide opportunities for these leaders to build camaraderie with their follow Eagle Leaders and gain confidence in their own community leadership abilities.

"The camp will touch on functional performance, nutrition and supplementation, training plans, proper mechanics, injury prevention and treatment/rehabilitation,” said Jim Yauger, a regional program manager for Team RWB. As part of the camp, participants were taught a workout system that was originally developed by SMRI researchers for the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division.

While completing field training, camp participants had the opportunity to work with the SMRI’s advanced equipment and facilities. The SMRI, part of UK’s College of Health Sciences, is a multidisciplinary research center that studies injury prevention and performance optimization for civilian athletes as well as tactical athletes of the U.S. military Special Operations Forces.

“We get to show them the gold standards for fitness and health and wellness measures along with injury prevention measures,” said Dr. Nick Heebner, associate director for research at the SMRI.

According to Yauger, the goal of the weekend was for participants to walk away with a renewed sense of assurance and tenacity.

“These camps inspire participants to commit to their own health and fitness while equipping them with the skills and confidence to lead events back in their community," he said.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue