wheelchair gamesThe US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that veterans nationwide are gearing up for the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games, slated for July 13 to 18 in Tampa, Fla. The Games are presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America and feature more than 500 veterans from the US, Puerto Rico, and Great Britain.

The VA notes that the games are open to all US military veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition as a result of spinal cord injuries (SCIs), neurological conditions, amputations, or other mobility impairments. A news release from the VA reports that the 33rd Games will also be co-hosted by the James A. Haley VA Medical Center and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. The public is invited to attend any of the sports competitions throughout the week of the Games, according to the release.

Erik Shineski, secretary of Veterans Affairs, emphasizes that the, “VA is committed to world-class care for our nation’s veterans and we encourage them to use adaptive sports as a key component of their physical rehabilitation. These athletes, more so than anyone, know the healing power of competition and camaraderie that this event provides,” Shineski says.

Bill Lawson, US Army veteran and national president of the Paralyzed Veterans of America echoes Shineski’s sentiment, calling the event a “truly life-changing experience for seriously injured veterans of every generation.” Lawson also encourages others to spread the world to disabled veterans about the games and to encourage them to get involved.

The VA says that the Games will feature a range of competitions in 18 different events including swimming, basketball, table tennis, archery, and wheelchair slalom, a timed obstacle course. Athletes will compete in the events again others with similar athletic ability, competitive experience or age.

The release also notes that July 15 will mark “Kids Day at the Games” at Jefferson High School. During this day, local children with disabilities will be offered the opportunity to interact with the athletes, participate in sporting events, and watch the veterans compete.

For more information, visit www.wheelchairgames.va.gov

Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs