Tammi Parsons shares how her basketball team has helped her through her battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
My name is Tammi Parsons. I am 39 years old. I have been married for 10 years to the delight of my life, Andy, and we have a puppy called Scout.
I decided to join The Salvation Army in 2003 as a senior soldier (member) after I made a decision to follow Jesus in 2002. I am the first in my family to be a Salvo soldier, and it was my dream to work for The Salvation Army.
I received my Bachelor of Ministry and started working for the Salvos in Morley (WA) nearly five years ago as a case manager for young people in crisis.
Over the past few years, I have experienced serious trauma. My father was involved in a helicopter crash which has resulted in high levels of pain for him. My mother was diagnosed with cancer and is still fighting her battle six years on. My sweet sister-in-law was also diagnosed with cancer. She was on the mend and fell pregnant, but four-and-a-half months into her pregnancy, she collapsed. Within five days, she and my unborn nephew had passed on. My dear husband was diagnosed with a serious illness and two of our dogs also died during this time.
I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to trauma in my past as well as the trauma of the present.
This left me with depression and I struggled to survive the normalities of life. I began the long road to recovery from PTSD through trauma counselling. I only managed to continue my work with The Salvation Army through this process because God gave me his strength.
My brother came to visit us at Balga Salvos (WA) where we worship, and he met the most amazing woman. She has healed our hearts and brought life back into our broken family. She will be my new sister-in-law in January.
She also did something that has changed me for the better. She invited me to join her Salvo basketball team, part of the sports ministry within The Salvation Army. I would never have believed sports ministry could have such a profound impact on the community or myself!
I started playing with the team once a week. I made new friends and bonded with a close friend from my past. I hadn’t played in a team sport since I was 13 and it has abundantly blessed me. Each week our team loses and we are at the bottom of the ladder in the competition, but each week we laugh, whinge, run till we collapse and encourage each other. I started going to the gym after joining the team because I realised how good exercise was for my mental health.
I am completely in awe with how being a member of this basketball team has been so healing for me. I had isolated myself because of the grief and trauma I had suffered, but playing alongside these beautiful women has been really healing. I feel part of something. It’s nice to be part of a church, but I often feel that because I work there I am giving out to others all the time. I feel like this team is really giving back to me.
The sports ministry of basketball has ministered to my sad, broken and weary heart. It has brought many laughs and a healing bond with my team-mates. I adore them. I give thanks to God and The Salvation Army for seeing the need for sports ministry within our community.