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Tennis Helps Vets and Families With Rehab

June 22, 2016 12:52 PM

Tennis programming for US veterans is underway at the VA Medical Center in Northport thanks to a partnership between private and government resources including help from the USTA Long Island Region, United Way of Long Island and Bethpage Park Tennis Center.

The program is twofold. Several veterans are enjoying free tennis lessons at Bethpage Park Tennis Center, with transportation provided by the Veterans Administration. In addition, a USTA grant will renovate two tennis courts on the campus of the Northport VA Medical Center, next to the Wee Luv ‘Em Day Care Center. The grant will pro-vide for resurfacing, lines, new net posts, nets, fence fabric, wind screens, a wheel chair 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 ten-nis 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 ten-nis camp for children attending the day care center.

The tennis court renovations will be completed and a grand open-ing celebration will be held in August.