My name is Jeremy Mendrick and I am currently a sophomore studying Health and Exercise Science at Syracuse University. I have always been interested in the human body, how it functions, and that relationship between the body and personal fitness. I’ve been an athlete my entire life, with my sport of choice being basketball. I played one year of college basketball and I currently work as a Health and Wellness Coach for the local YMCA. Personal fitness has always been very interesting for me so picking my major was almost a no-brainer. Syracuse University likes their students to get out in the real world and get experience credit for their major instead of only taking classes that revolve around tests and quizzes, something I think is very important. For summer 2016, I was looking for good opportunities to complete 80 hours of community service that my major requires; this is where I came in contact with the Adaptive Sports Foundation.
When I began my work with the Adaptive Sports Foundation it was just an opportunity for me to get some time toward my 80 required hours, but by the end it was much different. The event I volunteered for was for Wounded Warriors and centered on the game of golf as well as training them to improve their golf game. During the event, each participant was given various exercises to reduce pain and increase mobility in their everyday life. The event had a local physical therapist and exercise physiologists, as well as a golf teaching pro, all readily available to help the veterans with these various phases of their life. The physical therapy aspect of the event was extremely related to things I’ve been learning in school and I also personally love to play golf so this event was almost perfect for me.
Six Wounded Warriors came to the event and were all very excited to be there as it seemed to be one of the highlights of their summer. They were a great bunch of guys who immediately became friendly with one another which created an overall fun, social, yet informative environment.
The event began with a physical screening of each Wounded Warrior’s mobility within certain muscle groups that play a role in each golf swing, such as muscles within the hips, rear end, shoulders, back, etc. The physical therapist then looked at the major areas in which each individual scored the lowest and gave each of them exercises to work on daily to help improve the strength and mobility of that muscle group. One of the coolest parts about this program is that there are two of them six weeks apart. The purpose of this is to access them in the first session, give them things to work on, then see their improvement after the six weeks have passed.
As the three days continued, I got to know everyone more and more and see how great everyone was which made the so-called “work” not work at all. Instead of coming
to just get my hours and leave, I came because I wanted to be there and spend more time with the guys before they left. That was the thing that I thought was so special about the event. The event was solely about helping the Wounded Warriors in as many ways as we could for the various sacrifices they made for this country, but in all reality the warrior’s themselves seemed to help make the event the overwhelming success that it was just because of the people that they were. All I know is I went into the event not expecting much, just trying to get my hours, but left with an experience I won’t forget. I had a great time working with great people, and if it weren’t for the Adaptive Sports Foundation doing events like this week in and week out, it never would’ve happened.