Navy veteran and hockey player launch PTSD group in Gardnerville
July 7, 2018
A retired ice hockey professional and a U.S. Navy veteran are teaming up with Suicide Prevention Network to launch a new support group for people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Clint Malarchuk and Aaron Rasavage of Gardnerville both suffer from PTSD and wanted others suffering to know they're not alone.
"We both still struggle with it so we wanted to broadcast it like 'hey, you don't have to do this alone,'" said Rasavage.
The two met on Rasavage's family farm when Malarchuk — who's now a horse chiropractor — came to tend to their horses.
"I noticed Aaron was struggling and reached out," he said. "We're both different ages and have experienced different things, but we found we had a lot in common."
Rasavage is a Navy veteran who served two tours overseas.
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"I never saw what others have seen, but I've still seen what war does to people," he said.
Malarchuk has had three near death experiences, including a life-threatening injury in 1989 when a skate blade sliced his carotid artery causing immediate massive blood loss and a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chin in 2008.
Both of their experiences and support for one another drove them to launch the support group.
"We've been really supportive to each other," said Malarchuk. "If either of us are having a bad day we motivate each other and get each other through."
That's the support Malarchuk and Rasavage are looking to provide through the PTSD group.
"It's a high risk for many and a problem where ever you go," said Malarchuk. "We want people to know they don't have to suffer alone or in silence."
Malarchuk and Rasavage said all forms of PTSD are welcome in the group whether they're veterans, lost a loved one, suffered a life-threatening experience, a divorce or other life traumas.
"Everyone has past trauma, triggers, anger and anxiety, it's when you lose control of your emotions that causes the problem," said Malarchuk. "This group is for anyone suffering in silence."
A kickoff for the new group will be 6:30-8 p.m. July 19 at the Douglas County Community Center in the ceramic room. The group meets 6:30-8 p.m. every other Tuesday beginning Aug. 14 at the Suicide Prevention Network, 1625 Highway 88 suite 203, Minden.
During the kickoff, Malarchuk's book "A Matter of Inches — How I Survived in the Crease Beyond" will be available, including a meet and greet and book signing, and more information about Suicide Prevention Network and the Post Traumatic Disorder group will be provided.
Suicide Prevention Network is a non-profit agency located in Douglas County that provides the resources for help, hope, comfort, understanding, support in a confidential environment and connecting people with others who are walking the same journey.
"I think no matter where you are in life, you have a lot in common with others walking the same journey," said Suicide Prevention Network Executive Director Debbie Posnien.