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Program invests in veteran sports training and activities

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Nicholas Levine is the first recipient of the Project INVEST Scholarship sponsored by Heritage Health Solutions in Flower Mound — the group that also sponsors Project INVEST’s workings during the year. Project INVEST, Injured Veterans Entering Sports Training, is a TWU program that helps veterans get involved and active by offering entrance into adaptive sports.

Levine was helping undergraduate kinesiology students build an apparatus for their research study during the interview, with some amount of multitasking skills.

Originally, Levine said his dream was to be in the Marine Corps and become an officer for the duration of his career, until he got too many injuries from overuse while training.

Currently Levine is working on his Ph.D. in Kinesiology. He skipped his Master’s and went straight to the big leagues. After Levine first heard about the project, he was interested in getting involved: “I said: ‘That sounds right up my alley,’ because I want to do biomechanical research on military activities. So that way, I saw Project INVEST as a pre-made, hopeful way to advance not only my scholastic career, but my future career as well.”

With the scholarship money, Levine plans to start with a short-term project first. A long-term project he is considering will look at how traumatic brain injury affects how people develop later in life and how that deviates from a control subject (someone who does not have traumatic brain injury).

Project INVEST was first established by Kinesiology professor Dr. Ron Davis in 2012. The project was receiving funding from Veteran’s Affairs through the Olympic Opportunity Grant for the first year and then Heritage Health Solutions (HHS) started sponsoring the program in 2013.

According to Dr. Davis, one of their representatives participated in a Project INVEST sports training event and was pleased with the experience. The representative brought their interest in the program to HHS and their team felt like it matched the company’s values and goals enough to sponsor going forward; their sponsorship has amounted to between 25 and 35 thousand per year.

Dr. Davis travels to nearby military bases for adaptive sport events, such as wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, wheelchair tennis, rock wall climbing, kayaking and ranger games. In the future, he hopes to include golf and disc golf, another Battle of the Backboards tournament and Para-Badminton.

“All life is about is just trying to be a good person,” Levine emphasized. Helping people is his mantra, much like a modern-day Captain America.

Today, Project INVEST will be visiting Ft. Hood, on post, for a wheelchair soccer tournament. On Fri., Nov. 11, Dr. Davis and Project INVEST will be hosting Veteran & Family Activity Day in Pioneer Hall following Veteran’s Day on the Square.

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