ATLANTA, Ga. (WGEM) -- There are more than 18 million military veterans in the United States. After retirement many feel lost and alone no longer part of a team.
The same goes for professional athletes. Without the rigorous schedule and mandatory workouts, both these professionals can struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and isolation.
From the battlefield to the playing field, now there’s a place that’s bringing these two teams together.
There’s more to these workouts than punching and push-ups. This is about creating a team when you no longer have one.
“I served the United States Army for 30 years,” said Tonya Oxendine of the 82nd Airborne.
“I went into a nasty depression, and one day I just decided to end it. I grabbed a knife and I put it into my neck,” stated David Rendon, an army combat veteran.
For many, some of the biggest battles begin after the war is over.
“I felt really lost, and not sure who I was and where I fit in the world now,” shared Nate Boyer, former Green Beret and NFL player.
Before Boyer played with the Seattle Seahawks, he was a Green Beret. In 2015, both careers ended.
“Then all of a sudden it's like, I have no team,” said Boyer.
That’s when Boyer and Fox Sports insider, Jay Glazer, decided to bring both teams together creating Merging Veterans and Players or MVP. A place where men and women can work through their problems with physical fitness and peer-to-peer support. After each workout, members huddle to share their stories.
“That's where the magic happens in our huddle where we get to express and share those experiences,” exclaimed Oxendine.
“If you want to make a true connection, you're going to cry together, you're going to sweat together, or you're going to bleed together. Sometimes we do all three,” said Brandy Hester, a MVP trainer.
“That's where my life changed completely,” smiled Rendon.
MVP has brought together more than 1,300 combat vets and 750 professional athletes nationwide bonding through shared experiences, teamwork and sweat. Since the beginning of the pandemic, MVP has moved their workouts and huddles online. You can find a local group at www.vetsandplayers.org.