Boxing coach & veteran trainee work hard to knock out PTSD

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Monday, July 4, 2022
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Coach Mike Dusza and retired Sergeant Jon Bittner are proving that therapy for veterans comes in all shapes and sizes.

HARLEYSVILLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Boxing all my life on an amateur level, I've worked with many different coaches throughout the country, learning different styles of boxing," said Coach Mike Dusza. "To be where I am now, where I can help out folks and use my passion to help them, that's the greatest thing."

Coach Dusza has spent the last five years teaching boxing full-time at his private club, "Omega Boxing." There, he has trained all walks of life. But recently, he was approached by retired United States Army Sergeant Jonathan Bittner for one-on-one instruction.

"My love for our country and our fellow soldiers is near and dear to me," said Dusza, whose son is currently training in the ROTC. "And Jonathan represents every part of that. So to work with him is an honor, really."

Bittner, who comes from a military family, felt especially compelled to join the army after witnessing the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Working various jobs, he spent nearly nine years serving the country.

But coming home wasn't the end of the battle.

"I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, major depressive disorder," he said. "And so, I was in and out of inpatient treatment, and it was because of their help that I was able to put my life back together."

Bittner was inspired to go to school and become a therapist himself. Today, he currently specializes in helping first responders, veterans, and their families.

But even a therapist needs their own form of therapy. That's where boxing comes in.

"It allows your body and your brain to release some of the trauma that it has experienced," said Bittner. "Since I've been boxing, I've had very little to no anxiety and no panic attacks."

Bittner hopes that by sharing his story, more veterans will be compelled to try this creative form of therapy and find a new purpose in their lives.

"As long as you're still here, you're still breathing, there is hope to overcome what you're going through," he said. "So, just give it a shot and give it your best."

Coach Dusza finds his practice to be extremely rewarding because of success stories like Bittner.

"Sometimes, when I'll be training, I'll kind of pause a bit and think like, wow, like this was an idea at one point," he said. "And now, I have all these great people who I'm helping and I couldn't be happier."

To learn more about Omega Boxing, visit their website.

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