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Military Racquetball Federation brings clinic to Bowling Green for disabled veterans

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) — Bowling Green Parks and Recreation partnered with the Military Racquetball Federation to bring an adaptive racquetball camp for veterans and families.

“We started the Military Racquetball Federation back in 2009 or 2008 when we saw a marine who lost his leg,” said Steven Harper, Lieutenant Commander (Ret.)

“A lot of the veterans are dealing with things like PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, anger management issues, those who’ve been physically and seriously injured in combat as far as an amputee or wheelchair users,” Harper explained.

“Since 2008 we received a grant from the Department of Veteran Affairs,” said Harper.

He hosts interactive adaptive racquetball clinics throughout the United States, working directly with veterans with visible and invisible injuries.

“I got paralyzed and I never even touched an adaptive sport. It wasn’t anything even on my radar,” said Joseph Ahoffman, who was paralyzed 6 years ago.

The four day clinic included about 20 participants from the Bowling Green area.

“Some never even picked up a racket, don’t even know what a ball looks like and I think that a lot of them that got the chance to play were like ‘hey, I can do this,” Harper said.

“I got in the wheelchair once I got comfortable moving around in this contraption and you know, it was a go from there,” said Ahoffman.

“This being a sport here in Bowling Green, it is an outlet for them,” said Harper.

Adaptive sports gives those with disabilities the chance to compete.

“So, being able to play racquetball again — test myself — it really lets you feel like an athlete again and I was an athlete my whole life and it let’s you push yourself and be better in a way that you’re not use to,” said Ahoffman.

For more information on adaptive sports in Bowling Green, click here.

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