COLORADO SPRINGS — The power of sport is going a long way for a local softball team.
A softball team in Colorado Springs is bringing together people who’ve faced trauma or are recovering from drugs or alcohol. They’re called the Recovery Rebels.
Rob Decker, founded the two teams which consist of a co-ed and men’s team. He said recovery looks different for everyone, and the goal is to bring awareness to mental health through fitness and softball.
“The goal is to remove the stigma and the shame of the mental health title, or being afraid to speak up about suicide or drug and alcohol addiction or unresolved childhood trauma,” said Decker. “We want to create a community and a family out of it.”
The teams are building a community of people impacted by suicide, people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, and veterans impacted by major trauma.
“Maybe I faced a major trauma, maybe I come out of drug and alcohol addiction. There's a couple of us on the team that have tried to take our lives, and we've come out on the other side of that,” said Decker.
Decker organized the teams last year. He's an addiction recovery coach, a personal trainer, and a mentor for others.
“He actually came into my life and turned it around in a hurry. I was in a downward spiral. He got me on the right path, the right groove,” said Matthew Kyander, who joined the team last year.
Kyander served in the U.S. Army for six years. He retired medically as a Sergeant but finding help in the military and as a veteran wasn’t easy for him.
“Everything came to light when I got out of the army. Everything hits you all at once. You always try to cope with things like drugs, alcohol, and pills,” said Kyander. “People are left hopeless in their units and in their brigades. If you're the type of person that needs mental health, it's kind of frowned upon.”
Kyander says told News5 that the Recovery Rebels is like a family to him. They’re hoping to change conversations surrounding mental health, by providing hope on the softball diamond and bringing mental health to light.
“Everyone, here's a family, they never get down on each other. They never talk down on each other,” said Kyander. “Just by joining this team and the softball community, turned around my life for the better. If you have any anything in your life that you're going through, you have a team for you. You have a family for you, you have people to talk to, and that's what really makes it special. That's what being a part of the Recovery Rebels stands for.”
Kim Evans lost her brother to suicide in 2019. She’s also a member of the team and said, “it really helped me pull through some of the struggles that I had inside. So just having the team here with the positivity and just the support group is amazing.”
The team also has fitness professionals, trauma coaches, addiction recovery coaches, and mentors that play for them, that way everyone is supported.
“We’re pretty equipped. Everyone's in a different place in their recovery journey, and so we want to be able to have people from different walks of life to be able to support those people,” said Decker. “We want to encompass all different walks of life, different brands of mental health and traumas, whatever it is. So what we have truly is one-of-a-kind.”
The team works closely with local therapists and recovery and mental health organizations, to help provide any resources that team members may need.
Decker said he hopes to expand the Recovery Rebels into a non-profit organization. He wants to help build more teams in Colorado Springs and throughout Colorado, and part of that is helping to build teams with veterans because of the large veteran population in El Paso County.
Rocky Mountain Vibes Baseball, Axon Health, Lawn Sharks, and The Sanctuary Church sponsor the Recovery Rebels.
For more information, visit robdeckerspeaks.com