Grant to help Kentucky disabled veterans at Frazier Rehab Instit - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Grant to help Kentucky disabled veterans at Frazier Rehab Institute

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Local disabled veterans aren't being forgotten thanks to new sports camps designed for them and it's all made possible by a big federal grant.

Marcus Murray is a veteran of the Air Force, but it was a random shooting on local ground that left him confined to a wheelchair. "I was shot leaving a club in Indianapolis about four years ago," Murray said. "One shot in my right shoulder, paralyzed me."

For the father of teenage boys, adapting was everything. "There's those up and down days but I think having a good attitude makes the biggest part, adaptive sports definitely helps because it keeps me active."

It was the game of basketball for Murray.

"Sports, in a lot of these cases, was very important to them before their injury and so many things have been taken away that they feel like they can't do and we like to take the time to show somebody you know what, you played basketball before. You still can," BJ Levis said, Recreation Administrator with Metro Parks and Recreation.

However, the list of offered adaptive sports is a long one. "I'm always amazed because we'll offer a track and field clinic and we get phone calls from people from Boston and Chicago and all over that's coming to our clinic, I'm like 'seriously, you're coming to Louisville?' So, that shows you the need that there is. There's not as much adaptive sports that's happening or should be happening," Levis said.

Thanks to $63,000 from the Veterans Administration, the Frazier Rehab Institute will no longer struggle to get the message out. "When we applied and then we found out we got it, we were just thrilled because it's a very competitive grant," Levis said.

"This is a Godsend, it really is, for us to be able to have this kind of opportunity and this grant," said Jill Farmer Manager of Recreation Therapy at Adapted Sports at Frazier Rehab Institute.

The federal grant will help launch sports camps in Louisville and Bowling Green from May to August. "We don't just want to offer a golden carrot and say, 'this is what wheelchair tennis is like. Oh, you like it? Good luck, we hope you have a program.' We're going to continue it and offer that program, help get equipment so that people can participate," Levis said.

It's a world where sports aren't typically a top priority. "You think sports is important to a lot of people, not only from physical fitness wise, being healthier, but the socialization is huge," Levis said.

This grant is the latest effort to help veterans like Murray transition back into their communities. "That's our goal is to show people, you can take back this part of your life. You can excel in it, which is really cool to watch."

The Louisville camp will offer basketball, tennis, archery, golf, track and field, strength and conditioning, bocce and a nutrition component. The Bowling Green camp will offer basketball, tennis and goalball. 

For more information or to sign up, call (502) 582-7400.

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