[caption id=“attachment_1489” align=“alignright” width=“218” caption=“Camo was the color of the day as a participant hits the slopes at Whitehall Resort. (USO-Metro Photo by Crystal Benton)”][/caption]

As reported last week by the Department of Defense, wounded warriors and disabled veterans are finding therapeutic benefits in an unlikely place: the ski slopes!  USO of Metropolitan Washington and Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation have partnered for this unique program of athletics and healing.

“I’ve been using snowboarding and hand cycling and weight lifting to manage my pain for the past three years,” former Air Force senior airman Matthew Bilancia, a New Jersey native, said. “I think by using different sports and athletics, it keeps you from being depressed. It manages my depression and post-traumatic stress. It’s great to able to use those things instead of the medication.”

This is just one of many programs USO-Metro offers to Troops and their families who are recovering and receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, National Naval Medical Center, and Warrior Transition Units at Fort Meade, Fort Belvoir and the Hunter Holmes McGuire Richmond VAMC.

“This partnership with Two Top Adaptive has given us the opportunity to expand the types of therapeutic and adaptive programming we are able to offer to troops recovering at local military hospitals,” said Elaine Rogers, president of USO-Metro. “We are grateful for Two Top Adaptive’s commitment to deliver a truly exciting and restorative activity to our wounded warriors.”

Bill Dietrich, Two Top Mountain Adaptive Sports Foundation executive director, added, “Adaptive skiing is an excellent recreation opportunity for these troops because gravity doesn’t care if you’re standing up or sitting down. The USO of Metropolitan Washington has a long-standing tradition of serving wounded warriors and their families and we’re honored to partner with them.”

Check out a video from USO Metro’s YouTube channel! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsuW2MMloWw]