The healing hands of sports

A lone shooter in Orlando took 49 lives, injured many others, and wreaked havoc on the national psyche.

Those most impacted lived near the city and will never be the same, but strength can be found in healing. Of course it takes time, but it can be nurtured by community.

That's where sports, sporting events, sports arenas and stadiums can play an important role. Those games, those fields of play, can be melting pots.

In the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy, the sports teams in Florida rallied to show the community their support.

Stars as diverse as basketball icon Shaquille O'Neil, soccer star Kaka, and baseball's Johnny Damon visited victims in the hospital.

The Tampa Bay Rays, along with the Orlando Magic and Orlando City Soccer Club, raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims and their families.

Richard Lapchick's impactful piece on how sports are a powerful metaphor to help people realize their strength through unity details this tie.

"It does not matter whether you are young or old, gay or straight, come from a rich family or poor family. The team simply cannot win unless everyone pulls together," Lapchick wrote for ESPN.com.

It was Latin Night at the gay nightclub the shooter attacked in Orlando, and one group especially affected by the Pulse shootings has been the Hispanic community.

This summer, the eyes of much of the Hispanic sports fans are on the U.S. for the Copa America. And in the days after Orlando tragedy, they saw the captain of the U.S. national team, Michael Bradley, display a strong message of support for Orlando with his rainbow "One Nation" armband during the U.S. team's win over Ecuador in their Copa America quarterfinals.

It was another demonstration of how sports can unite and build awareness. And, in time, help heal.

Click here to keep up on all the latest on the Copa America with ESPN.

And to read Richard Lapchick's piece on ESPN.com, go here.