Warrior Care’s MASP Gives Perspective to New Commander

Marine Corps Lt. Col. Rodolfo S. Uriostegui, poses next to his bicycle before participating in Warrior Care’s Military Adaptive Sports Program (MASP) virtual Cycling clinic from his office at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. [Screenshot](Photo by Roger Wollenberg.)

This story originally appears on Military Health System written by K.D. Harris and edited by Mark Oswell.

“Joining the USMC Wounded Warrior Battalion East team has given me the renewal that I’m really affecting people’s lives,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Rodolfo S. Uriostegui, Wounded Warrior Battalion East detachment officer in charge at Naval Support Activity Bethesda in Bethesda, Maryland. “It’s given me a new life to my career, and I enjoy it. I love working with a program where people are affecting people,” says Uriostegui. 

“My top priority is to make sure everyone is doing their part to help wounded warriors. I want to ensure that Marines can receive all the help they can both medically and non-medically. I want them to get better to either return to duty in their units or transition to veteran status in the civilian world to become productive members of society.”

“During my short month working with these Marines, I was introduced to the Military Adaptive Sports Program (MASP), by meeting Patrick Johnson, Adaptive Reconditioning & Sports coordinator of MASP; and in my opinion he is one among many people who represents what the program embodies.”

MASP is part of the DoD Warrior Care Program. It provides adaptive reconditioning activities and competitive athletic opportunities to eligible wounded, ill and injured Service members to improve their physical and mental quality of life throughout the continuum of recovery and transition.

“I knew that MASP was around and part of Wounded Warrior Battalion, but it wasn’t too present for me. Now, that I’m here and have been working with Patrick for this short 30 days, I notice it more. We need to ensure that not only Marines that are in MASP know about the program, but other Marines and people understand what this program does for wounded warriors.”

Despite COVID-19, MASP has found ways to stay engaged with Recovering Service Members (RSMs) virtually. One of those ways are through clinics. Clinics are 1-3 days of adaptive reconditioning training provided by a certified coach/instructor to introduce and/or enhance the skillset of RSMs in a designated activity based on their individual and collective medical condition. Examples of these clinics are rowing, archery, cooking, sailing, scuba diving and cycling just to name a few. The coaches come from a wide background of expertise such as an USA Olympic Hall of Famer, USA Paralympic coaches or players, world champions, former RSMs who achieved USA/national credentials and other leading authorities in their fields

Uriostegui participated in one of these virtual clinics. “The Cycling Clinic was awesome! It gave me the opportunity and the ability to interact with the RSMs and coaches through the video platform. It made me felt welcomed and part of the team. I enjoyed that feeling.”       

“One of my biggest takeaways from MASP is how the team is breaking barriers for RSMs. It’s a program within a program meaning it is part of a holistic approach. You’re dealing with RSMs with not only physical challenges but psychological challenges. You’re also breaking barriers as a team. Your team found new ways to connect and engage with Marines and all other RSMs during this difficult time. I want to challenge the leadership to follow suit to break barriers within the Wounded Warrior Battalion.” 

“Even with my busy schedule, I think it’s important to be an active participant with the Military Adaptive Sports Program. This program gives Marines in the program hope that this is not it. Their situation where they are today is not it. It’s about looking forward, not looking back.” 

“I feel that each one of us should have the motivation that what we’re doing contributes to the better good of Marines and all RSMs to give them hope and stay on track in their lives,” Uriostegui said.

For more information about the Military Adaptive Sports Program (MASP), visit Warrior Care.