Hayabusa and Merging Vets and Players have partnered to protect those who have protected us. Hayabusa will provide hand wraps and boxing gloves to members of MVP, a program designed to provide a crucial support system for military veterans and retired professional athletes.
Attempting to mask and cope with all he experienced as a soldier was how Dustin Holcomb spent the better portion of a dozen years after leaving the military. A 2017 tragedy led him to Merging Vets and Players (MVP), a program helping military veterans and former athletes transition into everyday life through physical fitness sessions and “huddles” designed to allow its members to address the emotions they’ve struggled to conquer.
During the final year of his seven as a member of the U.S. Army, Holcomb was deployed to Iraq, he told VetsandPlayers.com. Midway through that stint in 2005 and while his upper body was outside of the hatch of his Stryker Armored Vehicle, a car bomb exploded. The blast caused second and third-degree burns on his face and wrist.
Once home for a seven-week stretch on paid terminal leave, Holcomb told VetsandPlayers.com he spent the bulk of that time sitting on his couch playing video games and drinking rum. “I was really good at being a soldier and I was bored,” said Holcomb, who rose from a Private E1 to E5 Sergeant.
Once outside the Army, Holcomb, a Purple Heart recipient, began to struggle with survivors guilt. Those feelings emanated from the fact 16 soldiers from his battalion were killed while in Iraq. In 2016, he spent weeks contemplating ending his own life.
“The Army spent 6 years teaching me how to be a soldier, sent me to Iraq for a year to fight, but zero time on how to be a civilian when I came home,” he told VetsandPlayers.com.
He buried himself in work as a trainer in Seattle, later being elevated to manage a team of trainers.
In 2017, a member of his platoon completed suicide “crushing” Holcolmb because he faced similar feelings less than a year before that. It was then a friend suggested Holcomb turn to Merging Vets and Players.
MVP was created in 2015 by NFL analyst Jay Glazer with the goal of helping military veterans and former professional athletes transition into civilian life after shedding a uniform most have worn for decades. Based at Unbreakable Performance Center in Hollywood, MVP has affiliates in Atlanta, Chicago, and Las Vegas. The program features weekly fitness sessions, ending with a huddle where members share their experiences. For some, the skills learned in the military or in the sports arena can be difficult to apply outside of the uniform and that’s where MVP steps in to provide a support system.
Each week, MVP members come together for a 30 minute workout that includes boxing. Once that portion of the sessions ends, the group circles in “The Huddle” where anyone can share their story of struggle, triumph or trying to find their way in this new chapter of life.
Merging Vets and Players sought a partner that not only produces durable and top-quality equipment to protect its members, but also believed in the mission of making people better, healthier and stronger through combat fitness. The synergy between MVP and Hayabusa is what makes this partnership special on many levels.