While recovering from having both legs amputated from injuries she sustained while serving in Afghanistan, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rebecca Mann initially had no interest in adaptive sports. At the insistence of friends, Rebecca decided to give adaptive sled hockey a shot. She signed up for a clinic through Spaulding Rehab Hospital in Boston and was immediately hooked.
Rebecca finds being on the ice beneficial for her body and mind. “The best thing about sled hockey is my disability doesn’t matter. I leave my prosthetic legs at the door and feel whole again. I can be competitive, be a part of a team, and get an awesome workout,” she says.
Rebecca is now on the USA Women’s National Sled Hockey Development Team. Soon after starting sled hockey, she discovered adaptive mountain biking, and most recently tried mono-skiing. “Adaptive sports in general, specifically sled hockey, have been a huge recovery tool for me physically and mentally,” she says.
Though Rebecca conquers the ice and other adaptive sports, she still experiences challenges within her living space. Training at home is difficult because her personal gym is in her basement, and she must descend steep stairs on her prosthetics to access it. Additionally, she often becomes frustrated that she cannot reach many shelves in her kitchen from her wheelchair. “This can often become a safety issue when I have to kneel on my wheelchair to reach higher items,” she says.
Receiving a single-level specially adapted custom Homes For Our Troops home with lower countertops and pull-down shelves will mitigate many of Rebecca’s current obstacles. “Easier access to my gym and an accessible kitchen will enable me to obtain better nutrition and have a more regimented workout schedule,” she says.
Additionally, the new home will enable Rebecca to focus on her role as Vice President of Mission Working Dogs, a nonprofit, service dog organization. The cause is close to Rebecca’s heart as she has her own service dog, Sully. “I will be able to dedicate more time to the nonprofit as basic household tasks will not be as arduous as they currently are,” she says. “Paying it forward by helping others in need receive well-trained service dogs is incredibly important to me.”
Rebecca says that “thank you” to HFOT’s donors and supporters will never be enough. “The home will provide peace of mind for myself and my family, who will no longer have to worry about my safety.”
Homes For Our Troops kicked off the building of Rebecca’s home in Mattapoisett, Mass., in October 2022. Follow her project at www.hfotusa.org/mann.