The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Sept. 26 awarded up to $9 million in grants to eligible recipients for adaptive sports programs that will benefit disabled Veterans and disabled members of the armed forces.
Grant recipients may use the funds for planning, developing, managing and implementing adaptive sports programs, and this year, $1 million was used to support organizations that offer equine assisted therapy to support mental health.
“We are proud to provide these grants to 103 community organizations across the country that are dedicated to sports and recreational opportunities for our nation’s Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “At VA, we know firsthand that adaptive sports have changed the lives of many of our injured Veterans. They have relearned not only to participate in life again, but to compete, to thrive, to inspire and drive themselves, their fellow warriors, their families and all Americans.”
VA is awarding the grants to national governing bodies, which prepare high-level athletes for Paralympic competition; Veterans Service Organizations; city and regional municipalities; and other community groups to provide a wide range of adaptive sports opportunities for eligible Veterans and service members. The grants will support activities ranging from kayaking, sailing, cycling, archery, hockey, skiing, fencing and equine therapy.
VA will distribute the grants to 103 national, regional and community programs with reach to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Approximately 11,000 Veterans and service members are expected to benefit from the programs.