Disabled Maryland Veteran Leads Group Up Mt. Kilimanjaro | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Disabled Maryland Veteran Leads Group Up Mt. Kilimanjaro

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By Garrett Browne

Three veterans from three generations, all with an artificial leg, set out today to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Garrett Browne reports the climb's organizer says such challenges can be an important part of recovery.

Kirk Bauer is the Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA, as well as a Vietnam Vet with a prosthetic left leg. He says the veterans in his organization have been really gung ho.

“They really wanted to push how much they could use their prostheses to do the sports and the adaptive equipment, they wanted to go further and faster,” says Bauer.

But to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, they'll need to pack some special equipment, including extra legs.

"If my first leg fails, then I’m going to my second leg, if that fails then I’m going to my crutches, I’m pretty determined to go to the top. One way or another,” he says.

Bauer says challenges like this aren't just for fun. They have positive psychological effects on wounded veterans.

“I had one guy state that he had seriously considered suicide before he got involved in sports, and now he is striving to be a Para Olympic athlete.”

Bauer expects his group will take seven days to get to the top and back.

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