Bryan Hoddle helps wounded vets run

Bryan HoddleStrangely, this is where the inspiring transformation often begins – on a track.

It’s here, with Bryan Hoddle coaching and shouting encouragement as a group of wounded soldiers begins to run, that something extraordinary occurs. These men, many in shorts and running on high-tech prosthetics because they are missing one or both legs, begin to redefine who they are.

“They start to see themselves as athletes again,” Mr. Hoddle says. “These guys, who have lost so much, start to think, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ ”

It’s a special moment. And it’s one that he has been part of for nearly a decade.

Since 2004, Hoddle, who once served as the head track coach for the United States Paralympic Team, has helped soldiers wounded while fighting in the Middle East get their lives back by teaching them how to run again. He also teaches them how to cope and dream again.

A couple of times a year Hoddle visits either Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., or the Lakeshore Foundation in Homewood, Ala., to work with wounded vets. He figures he has spent time with more than 1,000 of them, helping them get their lives back.

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