Adaptive sports take center stage
Illustration: Chris Gash
Why you should know: Adaptive sports like the National Veterans Wheelchair Games help change how the world views people with disabilities. They also promote an active lifestyle that can help relieve chronic pain and reduce anxiety and depression, struggles many paralyzed veterans face.
The games, which begin tomorrow in New York, are open to all U.S. veterans who need a wheelchair to compete. The field includes paraplegics, quadriplegics, amputees and people who suffer from a range of neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis.
The data says: In the U.S. alone…
- More than 5 million people live with paralysis.
- More than 40,000 veterans have a spinal cord injury.
- More than 12,000 people suffer a new spinal cord injury every year.
From the source: “This year marks a significant milestone of 40 years empowering our nation’s veterans to live healthy and active lives through adaptive sports and recreation,” according to event officials. “The event demonstrates the unstoppable character of veterans and seeks to foster wider respect for all people with disabilities.”
This year’s event also coincides with the 20th anniversary of 9/11, which compelled many to serve in the military. Athletes in this year’s field served in every major conflict since World War II. More than 10% were injured in combat.
The field of athletes includes:
- 49% Army veterans
- 18% Navy veterans
- 15% Marine Corps veterans
- 12% Air Force veterans
It’s the world’s largest sporting event for veterans who use wheelchairs. Roughly 300 veterans will compete in events including wheelchair basketball, power soccer, cycling, swimming, field events and adaptive fitness.
Please contact the Leidos media relations team for more.