Jiu-Jitsu Helps Veterans Rebuild Lives after Service
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There are 18 million American veterans, and many of them struggle both physically and mentally when they return from duty. Could Brazilian jiu-jitsu help heal some vet's trauma and pain?
The Doctors meet Joey Bosick, co-founder of The We Defy Foundation, an organization that helps combat veterans cope with disabilities and overcome their challenges through Brazilian jiu-jitsu and fitness training.
"I realized I always wanted to do something else to help other people," Joey, who lost 3 limbs from a roadside IUD in 2004, tells The Doctors. He shares that after his service and injuries he was unsure about the direction his life would take. A chance encounter while searching for a jiu-jitsu class for his daughter led him to meet fellow We Defy co-founder Alan Shebaro, who is also a veteran. After he began training with Alan, they identified a need for their organization when they saw a rise in veteran suicides.
"We wanted to help in some way," Joey continues, explaining the believes the benefits they were getting from the jiu-jitsu could also help other vets. He says he loves that servicemen and servicewomen who have been injured can still compete and are treated as equals, along with the benefit of the rebuilding of bonds with other vets.
We Defy student Lisa Shackleford, who served in the Navy for 3 and half years and was discharged for severe depression and anxiety, says the organization has helped her with her accountability and to her push through personal barriers and hurdles. "It has amazing mental benefits," she says of her training.
Joey explains that the physical demands of jiu-jitsu translates into real-world skills for many vets and inspires them to work through personal issues.
"We're not the answer, but we definitely a step in the right direction. It's a form of therapy that gets these veterans moving forward with their lives again," Joey says.