“With returning veterans, the battles in the mind are more lethal than the battles in Afghanistan and Iraq… Finding hope will get them through the hard times.” — POW founder, Todd Vance

It’s Veteran’s Day in the United States, a day when Americans remember, and honor, the sacrifices of our armed forces.

So it’s possible, and entirely reasonable, that conflicts in rings and cages aren’t exactly the first thing on your mind today.

But, as we described in an article last year for MMA Frenzy, there are still fights to be fought and won — and mixed martial arts is playing a role in winning an important one.

Combat veterans often find themselves in another battle upon their return — healing from wounds both visible and invisible. Awareness is growing for the condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which can keep returning veterans from integrating back into civilian life.

A growing organization of former veterans is using mixed martial arts to treat it.

That organization, POW (short for Pugilistic Offensive Warrior tactics), was founded in 2010 by Todd Vance, a MMA instructor in San Diego, California. Vance served two tours of duty with the US Army in Iraq, and initially struggled in his return to civilian life. MMA training became a godsend for him, and now he’s helping other veterans in the same battle.

He has since earned a bachelor’s degree in social work, and POW has developed into a 501(c)(3)  non-profit organization.

The unique program was profiled this week by Fightland/VICE Sports, and previously by HBO Sports, National Public Radio, and many more; but this video from Fightland may be the most poignant yet:

For more information on POW, please visit Vance’s website: powsd.org.