INDIANAPOLIS — A new partnership between Butler University and the Indianapolis VA Medical Center is using esports to create community and a therapeutic experience for Hoosier veterans.
Veterans who participate in the Recreational Therapy Outpatient services through the VA can get a free annual membership to the Butler Esports Park.
"A lot of younger veterans, a lot of veterans like myself, we're very familiar with video games in that kind of industry. And this was just a really cool way for us to as we grow into this environment, as we get more into eSports," Evan Davis, VA Recreation Therapist, said.
The Park opened to students in August and the community last month. It features around 40 gaming PCs, gaming consoles and virtual reality.
Eric Kammeyer, Director of Esports and Gaming Technology at Butler, says faculty and students are able to educate veterans or anyone who doesn't know a lot about esports. The school is excited for the possibilities to come. Butler was ranked #1 in U.S. News and World Report's 2022-23 list of the Best Universities for Veterans.
"We also want to communicate with those that are adult age to give them career opportunities, and that doesn't have to always be in degree seeking opportunities. It could be boot camps [or] certification programs that can come from this partnership in a number of ways," Kammeyer said.
The university is excited about the opportunity for workshops, tournaments and competitions as well.
"This is just a really cool opportunity to take people into the community, do something that they enjoy doing and make it therapeutic," Davis said. "If we don't have community, then we don't have health. Allowing individuals to access and be in their community in ways that they enjoy is a very integral part of health."
Veterans who receive care at the VA may request a consult to Recreational Therapy from any provider or contact the Physical Medicine and Rehab Services at 317-988-2655 to enroll in the program.
Community members who are not veterans can also get memberships to the Esports park.