Monday, June 25, 2012

National Veterans Wheelchair Games Begin Today

Acknowledging the lot of America's military Veterans can be a tough balancing act sometimes.  We need to pay more attention to the bad things happening in areas such as untreated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the alarmingly high rate of suicide among our Vets, but we should also not lose sight of the vast majority of our men and women who adjust, persevere and thrive despite being dealt a bad hand.

An outstanding example of that is the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG), that open today in Richmond, Va., and run through June 30.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America, the NVWG is the largest annual wheelchair sports competition in the world and offers a wide array of events including basketball, softball, swimming, weightlifting and even rugby.  The Games include a total of 17 different sports with competition among Veterans who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord injuries, amputations and neurological diseases.

"This event means a lot to me, it’s something I look forward to all year long,” said Anthony Radetic, 32, a combat Veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, who has lost the use of both legs. “It’s a great social gathering for military veterans. Every soldier I know has a competitive spirit, a motivational drive to challenge themselves to reach and seize the moment; this is the place to do exactly that.”

The NVWG, which attracts over 500 athletes every year, offers a range of competition and levels from world-class champions to newly-disabled Vets adjusting to the new challenges they face and wanting to continue in competitive sports.  According to the VA, about 25 percent of the athletes have never participated in any type of organized wheelchair sports competition before coming to the NVWG.

"The National Veterans Wheelchair Games started in the city of Richmond whose motto is 'Thus do we reach the stars,'" said Bill Lawson, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. "As the Games return to the city this year, I know they will inspire everyone -- athletes and spectators alike -- to reach for the stars, to overcome adversity, and to reach their full potential."

1 comment:

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