During a recent visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) in Bethesda, Md., Washington Capitals players Eric Fehr, Jeff Schultz and Aaron Volpatti and their better halves spent time with service members in the Military Advanced Training Center (MATC).
MATC is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of service members recovering from injuries sustained in service through the use of prosthetics and athletic equipment.
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MATC uses a sports medicine model that features much of the same equipment found within sports rehabilitation training rooms.
As a result, many of the same fitness drills practiced by professional athletes are replicated by the service members to work on core strength, balance and stability.
“We understand how hard it is to do rehab every day and how tough it is, and we just want to try and support them as much as we can,” said Fehr following the MATC visit. “At the same time, they’re supporting us.”
Wounded warriors who were both Capitals fans and hockey players themselves spoke with Fehr, Schultz and Volpatti about their participation in the USA Warriors sled hockey program.
“It sounds like a pretty dangerous sport from what I heard, with a lot of skill involved,” said Fehr. “It’s not something I think I’d be able to do, and it’s great for them to have an opportunity to play.”
The visit was equally special to the Capitals, who also visited inpatients at the hospital.
“It was awesome and it really put things into perspective,” said Volpatti. “You see the news on TV, but to see it firsthand what these guys are sometimes sacrificing and are willing to do for their country is amazing.”
The visit marked the Capitals first time visiting WRNMMC, which opened in September 2011 following the integration of the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
In 2008, Capitals players including Mike Green, Brooks Laich and Tom Poti visited the Fisher House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, while in 2010 the NHL and Capitals donated equipment to the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program during a visit to the facility.
Military and veteran’s affairs is one of five pillars the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, which supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella.: the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. MSE is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact on the community: education and scholarship, hunger and homelessness, military and veterans' affairs, pediatric health and fitness and youth basketball and hockey.