PIN story on veterans and mixed martial arts on NPR’s Morning Edition

Samara Freemark
Public Insight Network

As part of our ongoing coverage of veterans’ disability benefits, we’ve been profiling Kyle Dubay, a 28-year-old former combat medic who served three tours in Iraq.

He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and tried all the usual things to treat his PTSD – medication and talk therapy helped him some – but found real solace in mixed martial arts, a form of combat fighting that’s a cross between kickboxing and wrestling.

I met up with Dubay and a few of his teammates at a fight night at their gym in Mesa, Ariz., and interviewed them for a radio story that ran on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Dubay’s teammate (and fellow combat veteran) Justin Hayes sums up the fighting this way:

“Hanging out with friends, beating the crap out of each other; there’s nothing more fun than that.

“You got drama at home. You got school. You got homework. But when you’re on the mat, nothing matters.”

You can listen to the piece here.

And you can check out our earlier coverage of Kyle in this piece in The New York Times from my colleague Jeff Severns Guntzel, and this audio slideshow, produced by PIN editor Meg Martin and me.




Samara Freemark Reporter
Public Insight Network

Reporter/producer Samara Freemark joined the Public Insight Network after four years at Radio Diaries in New York City, where she spent her time helping ordinary people tell their extraordinary stories for NPR. In the process, she developed an unshakeable belief in the beauty and power of personal narrative.

Before Radio Diaries Samara worked as an environmental reporter, a posting that took her to sinking islands, Superfund sites, and literal snakepits – Burmese pythons, to be exact. She also churned out copy and tape in the newsroom of WUOM Ann Arbor. Before settling on a career in radio she tried out policy research, community organizing, and urban planning before deciding she preferred soundwaves to spreadsheets.