Did you know that when a service member goes through a traumatizing event, likely caused in battle, it can leave behind harrowing mental and emotional scars? What we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder forms as a result and creates problems for our veterans, the most common symptoms are anxiety and depression. Because PTSD is an unseen condition where the symptoms can get worse and affect everyday life, many of our nation’s veterans must find a way to cope and deal with the stress of trauma related PTSD, by finding support. Surprisingly, one good way that helps veterans is through recreational therapy. More specifically, golf.
It’s been proven that a consistent physical regiment can help decrease the impact of PTSD over time. According to one study, “A 12-week exercise program that included three 30-minute resistance training sessions a week, as well as walking, was found to lead to a significant decrease in PTSD symptoms, depression, and better sleep quality after the program ended.”
It was very helpful to learn that veterans can treat PTSD by playing golf because it helps take their mind off things, it brings physical exercise from playing, and they can meet new peers while sharing 18 holes. Remember, golf is a lengthy game and full of competitiveness, making it easy to get distracted from your problems, thus acting like a therapy for PTSD.
For the past six years, many veterans have participated in a joint program with the Purple Heart Service Foundation and the local VA Hospital to participate in the 6th Annual Purple Heart Open as a part of their therapy. Vets take the opportunity to not only relieve stress, but also to talk with other veterans who can relate to their experiences . Matthew Levine, a retired U.S. Army Veteran, says “Golf has been a way to reduce stress and get back to normal.” Another veteran, Ed Afanador, says “It gives you a common ground if you’ve been injured, and you have someone to talk to that has that commonality between each other.”
As the weather is heating up, we hope more veterans will take the opportunity to get outside and get active. The Purple Heart Open may only come once a year, but the golf course will be open all summer long.