MVP: From the Battlefield to the Playing Field


ATLANTA, Ga. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — 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. Ivanhoe has the details.

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

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Matt Goldschmidt, Videographer.

REPORT #2839

BACKGROUND: If you look at the Naval Academy and West Point, sports are a big part of life there and many students go on to serve in the military and become sports stars. David Robinson who played for the San Antonio Spurs for many years began his career at the Naval Academy then had a very lucrative NBA career. Alejandro Villanueva also was in the Army and served as a Ranger with the 1st Ranger Battalion. Merging Vets & Players (MVP) program starts with a 30-minute workout with a warrior to their left and right to get that familiar motivation in them again. The uniqueness of MVP starts with an hour and fifteen minutes of peer-on-peer support, a group of rebels building up fellow rebels after a group huddle for inspiration and motivation.

The Huddle is where those in the program share their challenges in transition and offer each other support and resources. MVP coaches encourage vets and athletes to be proud of their scars, and to use what they experienced on the battlefield or football field to push them through the transition. MVP shows combat vets and former professional athletes that they are no alone in their transition off the field.


THE STUDY: To determine sport and exercise psychology, practitioners need to address veteran transitional needs, similarities, and differences between transition experiences of former athletes and military veterans. A mixed methods approach, known as a convergent design, compared the transition experiences of 42 athletes and 64 veterans during the quantitative phase and 9 athletes and 15 veterans during the qualitative phase. The quantitative phase included independent sample t-tests to determine the differences in outcome scores for four valid and reliable measures: Satisfaction with Life Scale, World Health Organization’s abbreviated quality of life measure, Career Transition Inventory, and Patient Health Questionnaire Depression Scale. The qualitative phase incorporated recorded semi-structured phone interviews, which gathered information regarding an individual’s career transition experience. Quantitative analysis revealed athlete and veteran participants scored similarly on each outcome measure. Veteran participants had lower physical health and social relationship domain scores, but comparatively better transition control scores. Qualitative analysis revealed the necessity of preparation for the transition process, factors impacting the career transition process, transitioning that resulted in the loss of structure, and establishing oneself outside of former career. Results showed shared outcomes and perspectives between former athletes and veterans regarding their career transition process. Transition process similarities indicate sport and exercise psychology practitioners may be qualified to effectively assist transitioning veterans in the same capacity they assist transitioning athletes.


NEW AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN FOR VETERANS: The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis have tremendously impacted the health and economic wellbeing of millions of Veterans. Now, the American Rescue Plan will help them further recovery by enhancing the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs ability to deliver world class services to Veterans and their families, but it will also ease thousands of Veterans’ worries by forgiving some accumulated debt, speed up VA compensation claims, and provide much need funding to retrain them in high-demand occupations. Nearly $15 billion will be available for COVID-19 related health care, including information technology and facility requirements, giving at least 9.2 million enrolled Veterans who may have delayed care or have more complex health care needs because of the pandemic. The funds will also provide resources for Veterans currently receiving housing support, including an estimated 37,000 homeless Veterans. One billion dollars will be put towards debt forgiveness related to copayments or other cost sharing that Veterans paid for VA health care, and to reimburse Veterans who paid a copay or other cost sharing for care and prescriptions provided from April 6, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021.


* For More Information, Contact:

AJ Perez, Marketing Manager

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