Snow, sleet, freezing rain. The winter weather here in Washington, D.C. can get pretty old, pretty quick. But here’s hope for brighter days ahead: Registration for VA’s premier adaptive summer sporting event—the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic—opened February 1. If you haven’t heard of the clinic, then pay attention, because you’re in for a real treat.
The clinic offers recently-injured Veterans an opportunity to learn adaptive summer sports (surfing, kayaking, sailing, cycling, and track and field) under the guidance of world-class instructors. Registration is open to up to 100 recently-injured Veterans who receive care at VA medical facilities nationwide.
The Summer Sports Clinic was started by VA recreation therapist Sandy Trombetta, the same guy who created the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic 25 years ago. The concept for the two clinics is identical: to use adaptive sports to help injured Veterans build confidence and redefine their future. But what makes the Summer Sports Clinic unique is that it takes a holistic approach to rehabilitation by encouraging Veterans’ caregivers to get involved in the daily sporting events. This is equally important for a Veteran’s spouse or loved one, or VA physical or recreational therapists. Both can share in the experience and learn about new equipment and coaching techniques.
Hosted by the VA San Diego Healthcare System, this year’s clinic takes place September 18 – 23 in sunny San Diego, California. I’ve attended the clinic as part of the PR staff since its inception in 2008 and it is definitely one of the coolest things I have had the privilege to take part in. If you know a recently-injured Veteran who might benefit from an adaptive sporting experience—from surfing at La Jolla Shores to sprinting around the track at the Olympic Training Center at Chula Vista—then please encourage them to register today.
For information about the clinic or to register, visit the Summer Sports Clinic homepage or email Tristan Heaton at Tristan.Heaton2@va.gov.
Jose Llamas is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and a Public Affairs Officer for VA’s National Programs and Special Events.