Nearly 400 injured Veterans and active-duty military members will join volunteers and leading medical and rehabilitative professionals from across the nation this week for the 31st National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village (near Aspen), Colo.
“This is an opportunity to realize you’re not done, you’re not over and you’re not broken.”
The event, hosted by Department of Veterans Affairs and DAV (Disabled American Veterans), is made possible by strategic corporate partnerships, nonprofit organizations and individual donors.
“The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic is a life-changing event for the Veterans who participate,” said Dr. David J. Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “I am inspired by our Veterans and equally inspired by our staff, who coach and encourage them to dream beyond their imagination, draw from their inner strength and use this clinic to showcase their resilience and courage.”
When Veterans go back to their communities, they bring this experience of a lifetime to help others, while motivating themselves throughout the entire year. Often referred to as “Miracles on a Mountainside,” the clinic promotes rehabilitation through adaptive Alpine and Nordic skiing, rock climbing, wheelchair self-defense, sled hockey, scuba diving, and other adaptive sports and activities.
Studies show adaptive sports provide participants with physical and emotional benefits, including stress relief, reduced dependency on pain and depression medications, and higher achievement in education and employment. The event has also been a starting point for numerous Paralympic athletes.
“Involvement in this event has been life changing for me,” said DAV National Commander David Riley, a past-participant and quadruple amputee Coast Guard Veteran. “This event helped me redefine the perceived limitations I had after losing my limbs. And it does the same thing for hundreds of my fellow Veterans every year.”
Participation is open to active-duty service members and Veterans with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, and certain neurological problems and disabilities.
For more information about the winter sports clinic, visit www.wintersportsclinic.org
By the VA Winter Sports Clinic staff