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National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic

Marine Corps Veteran
Stays Active in MMA, Football

Photo of a Veteran Stokes playing football

San Diego Veteran Crystal Stokes, first time participant in the NVSSC

San Diego Veteran Crystal Stokes is a first time participant in the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic and she is looking forward to both the physical challenge of the event and camaraderie among Veterans. The former Marine Corps sergeant served 11 years in the Corps, including tours in Kuwait and Iraq.

Since leaving the Marines, Stokes has been receiving healthcare at the San Diego VA Medical Center and said she believes the Summer Sports Clinic will assist with her therapy.

During her service, Stokes worked on water purification, served as a rifle and pistol coach, and a martial arts instructor. Stokes is the daughter of two Marine Corps Veterans and was born at Camp Pendleton. Her youngest brother is also a former Marine.

Stokes stays extremely active in her daily life by participating in a number of sports-centered activities. Currently, she stays fit through CrossFit, running and condition training. In 2010, she began training as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. She trained consistently for a year and a half, but sustained a knee injury in 2011. She is ramping up her conditioning again to continuing competing in MMA. Stokes has also been a member of the National Women’s Football League for six seasons on the San Diego Surge. Stokes played for the Surge during their championship season in 2007. Most recently, Stokes was the defensive end and running back on the 2013 team that went 7-1 in the regular season. She also enjoys bow and rifle hunting.

Stokes is eager to join fellow Veterans in the Summer Sports Clinic. She hopes the camaraderie during the week between Veterans will help her regain that sense of family that was so strong during her service in the Marine Corps. She said she would like to connect with other Veterans who will help during her transition to civilian life.

Welcome from the Director

Photo of a Veteran surfing

Welcome to San Diego! It is a privilege and honor to have you here this week.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of many
people, we have prepared what we hope to be one of the best weeks you experience in your life. This week will hopefully
inspire a dedication to healthy living and activity and a desire to seek out continued opportunities available in your local
community when you return home. We will do whatever we can to ensure this adaptive sports rehabilitation clinic
exceeds your expectations.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the
commitment of all the staff and volunteers from the
Department of Veterans Affairs and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, the Veterans Canteen Service, as well as the San Diego community and sponsors. I’d like to thank this incredible team for truly being committed to making sure this is the best possible rehabilitative program you attend.

Thank you all for your service, and thank you for
participating. Live healthy, stay active, challenge yourself
this week and continue to live your life to the fullest.

Sincerely,

Tristan Heaton
National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, Director


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