Motivating disabled Veterans to participate in adaptive sports supports their rehabilitation and recovery and contributes to their health and wellness. As the number of Veterans who become injured continues to grow, there is a need to reach out to them and provide the tools and resources they need to get started and stay fit. So, we launched the VA Paralympic Program website. We designed the site primarily for three groups – disabled Veterans and their families, VA clinical staff, and community-based sport programs.
Veterans will get an idea of some of the adaptive sports that might be a good fit for their injury, resources to help them get started and information on how they can qualify for training allowances to compete on the paralympic level.
VA clinicians will find information about VA’s program as well as contact information for obtaining our new outreach toolkit that has materials they can use in promoting adaptive sports at their facilities.
Local sports programs that provide adaptive sports activities to Veterans can also learn how they can become eligible for grants.
Two things everyone might find interesting are the Success Stories page and the Sports Club Finder page. On the Success Stories page you can read about disabled Veterans and how participating and competing in sports has changed their lives. We’re looking for more, so please send us your stories; we just might share them on the site.
The other cool feature of the site is the Sports Club Finder. It was developed by our partner, the U.S. Paralympics. The Sports Club Finder can help you find local adaptive sports programs in your community so, if you want to find an adaptive sports program in your hometown, check it out.
As a disabled Veteran and avid hockey player, I know firsthand how sports activity positively impacts your body and mind. Participating in adaptive sports means more independence, less stress and more fun. To put it simply, disabled Veterans who play sports tend to be healthier and happier.
So, check out the website and let me know what you think. Thank you for your support to our nation’s Veterans.
Christopher J. Nowak is the National Director, VA Paralympic Program Office.