Injured Veterans Finding Comfort At Archery Range - KMSP-TV

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Injured Veterans Finding Comfort At Archery Range

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FORT BELVOIR, VA- Veterans who've been injured, either on the battlefield or here at home, get a welcome distraction.

They had a chance to practice a sport that requires intense concentration.

The people in the archery room are accustomed to "aiming" for goals.

Harry Cokley is in a wheelchair.

"Apparently a gentleman and his wife were having domestic problems. He shot off a gun which went through the house door. Hit me in the lower back which left me paralyzed waist down," said Cokely.

Harry served in the army. He's joined other injured veterans at this archery clinic at Fort Belvoir. It's run by MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital.

For Harry, archery is a way to escape the pain even if only for a few minutes.

"To focus and have me think about something else helped me eliminate thinking about the pain," said Cokely.

"I love it. Even the bad days - just being out there and shooting there's stress relief and focusing on things other than your injuries," said Major Richard Burkett.

Burkett helped organize the clinic. In 2012, he was in a plane crash in Morocco.

"I almost had both my legs completely separated from my body," recalled Burkett.

Burkett is recovering at Walter Reed.

"What's probably helped me the most is getting the other guys out. Putting on an event like this people I've never even met before get out of their rooms, out of their homes that normally might not get out and get exposed to the sport and enjoy it," Burkett said.

Burkett is hoping to make the 2016 Paralympics team. But for now, his focus is at the clinic.

"Hopefully at the end of the day, they leave here in a better mental case than when they came," said Burkett.

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