Disabled Veterans Inspired by Athletics

"I live in an area with few people with my problem, and to come together with these brothers who are in the same situation as me … it makes you open up and makes you happy," Fradera said. "This experience really opened people's eyes and showed them that there's things out there we can still do and we can be a part of this world again."

By the time closing ceremonies rolled around at the end of the week, Bruggeman said hardly any of the "brothers" had a dry eye.

"On the last night, a lot of us felt like sallies and got all teary-eyed," Bruggeman said. "We instantly bonded. I've never made friends like that so fast in my life."

Both Bruggeman and Fradera said that they had such a great experience at the clinic that they also plan on being first-time participants in this year's 22nd National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, Colorado

"We all sit in hospitals and feel sorry for ourselves…but attending one of these programs can really turn your life around," Bruggeman explained. "You'll learn how to do new things, and soon enough you'll start to take so much pride in doing these things that you'll turn it around into taking pride in everything else that you do."

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