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Veterans who participate in sports feel more confident



Salt Lake City, Utah – Playing sports has given one Utah veteran comfort and a renewed feeling of self-worth following active duty.

When Tim Fagan, a nearly forty-year veteran of the military, discovered the athletic programs provided by the VA, he jumped right in.

Fagan has served for many years in a variety of outposts and missions around the globe, so he is aware of how difficult it may be to get used to the pace of civilian life.

“You’re not on the same tempo you are when you’re in military service,” he explained. “You’re maybe at a loss, trying to find your place.”

Subsequently, Fagan came upon the VA’s adaptive sports program and therapists, who completely changed his experience of getting back into his civilian equilibrium.
Among the therapists who treat Fagan and others is Shannon O’Rawe.

“My goal is to work with veterans, I want to give back to those who served our country,” she explained.

Fagan and O’Rawe fought against one another, grinning and having fun as they showed off their pickleball prowess.

O’Rawe’s family has several veterans, despite her not being a soldier herself. She said it makes her job worthwhile to witness veterans like Fagan readjusting to civilian life after serving in the military.

“Overall, it helps build up their self-esteem, helps them learn coping skills, focusing not only on themselves but their families,” O’Rawe said. “At the end of the day, it’s not just a veteran that needs to learn how to adapt to the world, it’s the whole core team, it’s a holistic approach.”

Over a thousand US military veterans – roughly sixty of whom are from Utah – will compete in the Salt Lake City-hosted Golden Age games this summer.

A range of sporting competitions will unite veterans in a spirit of friendly rivalry during the games.




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