On October 1, Home Base’s Warrior Health and Fitness Program kicked off the fall season with a new cohort in Boston, MA, and the announcement of two new directors.
Ross Zafonte, DO, current Clinical and Research Leader for the Traumatic Brain Injury Program at Home Base, has been named Medical Director of the Warrior Health and Fitness program. Zafonte will succeed Larry Ronan, MD, who has held the role since the program’s inception two years ago. Additionally, Louisa Sylvia, PhD, will continue to serve as Director of Health and Wellness for Home Base and assist with overseeing the program.
“It is a tremendous honor to be named medical director of this outstanding program at Home Base, following in the footsteps of Dr. Ronan,” Zafonte says. “Fitness and wellness is such a unifying thread throughout so many aspects of our society; programs like this exert a powerful sense of belonging and mission for our participants.”
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges many military members face after their period of service is maintaining their physical health and well-being due to new obligations competing for their time and energy, such as looking for a job, supporting the family, or going back to school. Home Base’s Warrior Health and Fitness Program was developed to rebuild camaraderie and help warriors learn how to live a healthy life.
“One of the major changes this fall cohort will expect is the expansion of the nutrition and educational series,” Sylvia says. “While the physical portion is very important, we have expanded access to one-on-one nutritional counseling as well as created a structured education curriculum on the benefits of fitness, exercise programming and design, healthy eating, sleep hygiene and mental resiliency. We feel it is just as important that our Veterans are prepared and armed with the knowledge they need to make healthier choices outside of the gym.”
For U.S. Army Veteran Ryan Vander Weit, Program Coordinator and Strength and Conditioning Coach for Warrior Health and Fitness in Boston, the program is more than just a new way for Service Members to adjust to civilian life after service – it’s a new beginning. “A Veteran’s father once thanked me and Home Base for giving him his daughter back,” Vander Weit recalls. “Since completing Warrior Health and Fitness, he has watched her become more social and happy. That is what this program is really about – the empowerment of the Veteran.”
The revamped Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program kicks off on October 29. It’s open to both men and women who are Veterans or Active Duty Service Members, in all branches of the military, the National Guard and the Reserves. All able-bodied Veterans, including amputees, are eligible to participate and discharge status is not a factor. For more information about Home Base’s Warrior Health and Fitness Program, or to register for next year’s spring session, click here.