Most Veterans don’t expect to see a rock wall when they visit the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, much less one right in the center of the facility, but the 24-foot wall is a fitting reminder of what the center does for Veterans everyday.
“The rock wall is pretty much the center of what rehabilitation is. The patients are able to physically see the height and reach for their goals, which rehab is, it’s reaching for functional goals,” said Cathy Williams, a recreational therapist at the Tampa VAMC and one of the leading advocates for the rock wall.
The Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center also serves active duty military members. An active duty Marine told Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the senior enlisted adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during his visit to the Tampa VAMC, “For me this [rock wall] has been the most help that I have received in my treatment since I’ve been back from Afghanistan. Anybody who is willing and ready for help, I would recommend this for them.”
“These Veterans are incredibly competitive, they are warriors. They compete against each other every day,” said Larry Miller, a physician assistant on the TBI Prep Team at the Tampa VAMC.
If you are interested in physical activity as part of your care, contact your local VA facility’s recreation therapy service. Veterans can also use the VA Adaptive Sports Club Finder to find a training facilities nearest them.