Surf Medicine: Surfing as a Means of Therapy for Combat-Related Polytrauma

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Among the thousands of US Service members wounded in Iraq, many have sustained multiple traumas and developed physical and mental injuries. The term “polytrauma” refers to concurrent injury to the brain and several body areas or organ systems that result in physical, cognitive, and psychosocial impairments. Although many therapeutic modalities are available for patients with polytrauma, only a few modalities simultaneously address global rehabilitation, including pain, vestibular impairment, and cognitive symptoms. The sport of surfing involves aspects of hydrotherapy, strength training, balance rehabilitation, and group supportive therapy. Recent adaptations have been made that allow those with severe injuries and missing limbs to learn how to surf.

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