USFSP Sailing Coach to Work with Veterans, Soldiers
The Warrior Sailing Program gets military service members on the water to provide physical, mental and emotional therapy for a variety of injuries and illness.
ST. PETERSBURG – University of South Florida St. Petersburg Coed Sailing Coach Alan Capellin will spend some time out on the water working with sailors-in-training who will participate in the Warrior Sailing Program.
The program, which was founded in St. Petersburg in 2013, introduces injured or ill active service members and veterans to sailing, and provides maritime education to encourage and empower them. Organizers of the program say that getting military service members on the water can provide physical, mental and emotional therapy for a variety of injuries and illness. Sailing is an outlet to cope with the long term effects of PTSD, brain injury, amputation, paralysis and nerve damage and it’s a fun way for warrior sailors to express their most natural abilities: teamwork and competitive drive.
The three-day sailing training camp, which runs Tuesday (April 4) through Thursday (April 6) enables participants to engage in camaraderie and spirited competition in a fun, active setting. As one of six coaches, Capellin will work with and teach three participants on a 23-foot sonar sailboat, said Cory Kapes, program manager for the Warrior Sailing Program. Eighteen veterans and service members are expected to participate in the event.
“Last year, several members of our sailing team participated with me in the event,” Capellin said. As a representative of the USFSP Coed Sailing Team, Capellin said he hopes to build a connection with the participating wounded warriors through their common bond: a passion for being on the water.
“Sailing is a great equalizer. When it comes to distance sailing in collegiate competitions, for example, there are several classes in sailing in which it doesn’t matter if someone is disabled or able-bodied—they can compete,” Capellin said. “If these guys are willing to put in the time and effort to learn sail boat racing, I’m willing to coach them. It doesn’t matter if they have disabilities or not. I’m there to help them do better.”
For information about USFSP sailing, go to usfsp.edu.
Photo of Alan Capellin (right) and friend George Szabo by Fried Elliott, www.friedbits.com, courtesy of USFSP.
USFSP | Warrior Sailing Program | Sailing | Sports | TB Reporter
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