Sports naturally have redemptive qualities, but I’ve found combat sports often provide a platform for the disabled, disadvantaged or troubled to level the playing field through sheer force of will. Two such stories today speak to that dynamic.
While not physical disabled, the troubled or disadvantaged also seek refuge in the struggle of combat sports. The New York Times profiled today the story of Kyle Dubay, an Army medic diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Acting on an impulse to give MMA training a try after bottoming out on drugs and alcohol, Dubay is remembering what it’s like to be himself again:
Outside the gym, he started to notice that situations that used to make him angry or cause flashbacks didn’t faze him – at least not as much. Anxiety lost its stranglehold. Before the deployments, he said, his soft voice cracking: “I was always the person that loved everybody. Everybody loved me. I was so happy.” He’s training at the gym a few nights a week, and he’s even started to feel happiness again.
The violent nature of combat sports often belie their ability to be powerfully ameliorating.