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Tennis Helps Veterans and Families with Rehab

July 29, 2016 11:53 AM

Thanks to a USTA grant and the support of the USTA Long Island Region and United Way of Long Island, construction of revamped tennis courts at the Northport VA Medical Center was slated for completion in August. The project will be highlighted during US Military Appreciation Night at the US Open.

Tennis programming for US veterans began earlier this year with free lessons for veterans provided at Bethpage Park Tennis Center. Separately, a USTA grant was issued to renovate two tennis courts on the campus of the Northport VA Medical Center, next to the Wee Luv ‘Em Day Care Center. The grant provided for resurfacing, lines, new net posts, nets, fence fabric, wind screens, a wheelchair ramp connecting the courts to a walkway and a wheelchair access gate.

“We are extremely excited about this project because it will put veterans in a place where they not only can play tennis but can interact with other veterans with similar injuries (some physical and some invisible – PTSD, TBI) which will help them get back to a normal life,” said Craig Fligstein, Vice President, Grant Development & Strategic Program Initiatives, United Way of Long Island, and a member of the USTA LI Region Executive Board. “Over the course of a few years we will be able to touch hundreds of service members, as well as their families and children, through tennis, helping them with their rehabilitation, both physical and emotional, and their community reintegration efforts.”

Highlights of the tennis program will include: becoming a host site for the Wheel Chair Games and the Paralympics and tennis camp for children attending the day care center. The tennis court renovations were scheduled to be completed and a grand opening celebration held in August.