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VA Maryland Health Care System


Fly Fishing Provides Therapeutic Benefits For Veterans

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Photo of Vasco Palmer, Gulf War Vet, and Ed Nicholson of Project Healing Waters.

Photo Caption:  Vasco Palmer (right), a Persian Gulf War veteran, receives instruction on the proper method for casting a fly fishing rod from Ed Nicholson (left), the President of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.

February 13, 2008

Representatives from Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc., recently provided a demonstration on the therapeutic benefits to be derived from fly fishing to hospitalized veterans and outpatients at the Perry Point Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System.  Each participant had an opportunity to practice casting a fly fishing rod and to learn the technique of fly tying.

Founded in 2005 by the Federation of Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited, the mission of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is to aid in the physical and emotional recovery of wounded or injured military personnel through the art of fly fishing.

According to Ed Nicholson, Project President, “The act of fly fishing and fly tying helps disabled veterans to rebuild their fine motor skills and improve balance while in a relaxed outdoor setting other than in a hospital, thereby enhancing their overall rehabilitation.”

First introduced at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to disabled active duty personnel, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is now expanding to offer its services to military hospitals and VA medical centers across the nation.

“We are looking forward to working with members of the Patapsco Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited to implement this rehabilitation program at the Perry Point VA Medical Center,” said David Otto, Supervisor, Recreation Therapy.  “Disabled veterans who transition from the fly fishing program with the Department of Defense to the Department of Veterans Affairs will now experience a seamless transition with the continuity of this therapeutic recreation program.”