Akron veteran battling PTSD creates UTusk, mobile fitness app - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Akron veteran battling PTSD creates UTusk, mobile fitness app

Steve Downey shows his soon-to-be-released app. (Source: WOIO) Steve Downey shows his soon-to-be-released app. (Source: WOIO)
Steve Downey poses for a photo while serving in the military. (Source: WOIO) Steve Downey poses for a photo while serving in the military. (Source: WOIO)
AKRON, OH (WOIO) -

A local veteran is hoping to help his fellow military members and others battle wars on the home front.

Steve Downey says he's not ashamed to talk about his own personal demons.

"I had somebody that I listen to very closely tell me a real man looks for help when he needs help," he said.

The 29-year-old veteran battled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also know as PTSD, after deploying to Iraq in 2006.

He says the death of his mother and other things sank him into depression and he didn't feel good about himself so he ate to cope. He got some help, got in shape and now he wants to give that back to others.

With the help of mentors at The Bit Factory, he created UTusk, a mobile fitness app.

Downey says the app will pair you with fitness and nutrition coaches of your choosing who will motivate you to be your best self. He had his fellow veterans in mind but the app will be open to anyone who wants to utilize it.

"Going to the gym or paying for a personal trainer is really expensive and a lot of people can't afford it so this is a cost effective way that puts quality fitness and health information in the hands of every day people," he said.

He says this app is a direct result of his PTSD and he knows there are others who are suffering.

"Twenty-two veterans a day, about 8,030 a year, which when you think about how small the veteran community is, it's a pretty staggering number," he said.

"How much of a personal investment has this been for you?" asked Cleveland 19 News reporter Sia Nyorkor.

"Everything. I mean, I didn't know my up from my down, this has been a complete transformation for me," said Downey.

UTusk launches in June. It will be available for all iOS users.

On May 25, Downey and several other Ohio veterans will climb Mt. Everest Base Camp. They will carry a flag with the names of veterans who have committed suicide.

We plan to follow him on his journey. You can look for the details of his trip right here on our website.

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