HOW SPORTS HELP: For injured veterans and soldiers, getting back to their life before the injury is not always an easy road but sports can play an important role in this recovery. The use of sports in wounded soldiers’ rehabilitation has so far proved to have many benefits, especially for those soldiers who now need to adjust to life in a wheelchair. Not only can sports help these soldiers’ rehabilitation but also recreational activities such as golf, or whatever activities the individual has an interest in. Benefits of sports and recreation activities for injured soldiers include improved physical and mental health, and most importantly the reminder that their injury does not hold them back from leading a fulfilling life. (Source: www.pva.org)
PROGRAMS FOR VETERANS: There are various programs involving sports set-up in the United States that disabled veterans can participate in. Here are a few programs that take place every year:
- The National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic – This clinic teaches veterans with significant physical and psychological issues summer sporting activities in order to help with their rehabilitation. These activities can include anything from track and field to surfing. There is also a Winter Sports Clinic which provides the same services for winter sports.
- The National Veterans Wheelchair Games – These games are the largest wheelchair sports competition in the world and it has 17 different sports for veterans in wheelchairs to participate in including hand cycling, basketball, and rugby.
- The National Veterans Golden Age Games – The Golden Age Games is a multi-event sports competition for veterans 55 years and older with various abilities and disabilities in the hopes that participating in the program will improve their quality of life.
THE PARALYMPICS: Wounded veterans can also compete in the U.S. Paralympic Games, which runs alongside the Olympics. The Paralympics are the second largest elite sports competition for people with physical or visual disabilities worldwide and although participants in the Paralympic Games come from all over, many are injured veterans. For some disabled veterans, the Paralympics are a goal that they can strive for and another way to represent their country in an international arena. The VA Paralympic Program was also created to further help injured veterans’ rehabilitation. (Source: www.va.gov)