ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – What do former professional athletes and combat veterans have in common?
It turns out a lot more than you might think.
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A non-profit organization brings them together to help people transition into a life outside of uniform.
“I think the hardest part is taking off your uniform,” says Ben Derry, who served as an aircraft maintenance officer with the Air Force from 2007 to 2015. “You lose a bit of your identity.”
Derry spent a year in Afghanistan, received a Bronze Star and was dispatched to West Africa in 2014 to help fight the Ebola outbreak.
“I have good civil friends, but you lose the ability to speak to them,” he said. âIt took me a couple of years to go through this and not really know what I needed.
Derry found what he needed through a nonprofit called Merging Vets and Players, or MVP. The group, consisting of combat veterans and former professional athletes, meets weekly for a workout.
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Whether from the battlefield or the soccer field, the fights are similar. MVP brings that team feel back to athletes and veterans alike.
“We’re so used to being with a team, we’re so used to being with a team, and I was used to that,” said former NFL player Romby Bryant. “When I left football, that was gone.”
The focus is not only on physical health, but also on mental health.
After the group has trained, speak out.
Two seemingly different paths on the surface, but there is so much connection.
“We understand the team, we know how to rely on someone else to make sure you don’t get hit in the back,” said Derry. “It thinks that all of these things come together, and when we get scrambled after a workout, you’ve shared a sweat with someone and you automatically have a level of trust that doesn’t come very often.”
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For more information on merging vets and players, see Click here.