Disabled Veterans Sports Clinic Opens in Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo. — Deputy Vet­er­ans Affairs Sec­re­tary W. Scott Gould called on more than 350 dis­abled vet­er­ans last night to strive for new heights as they par­tic­i­pate here this week in the 25th Nation­al Dis­abled Vet­er­ans Win­ter Sports Clin­ic.
Speak­ing dur­ing open­ing cer­e­monies along­side Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Dis­abled Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans Nation­al Com­man­der Wal­ly Tyson, Gould praised the suc­cess of what has grown to become the world’s largest dis­abled win­ter sports event.

25th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic at Snowmass Village, Colo
Dis­abled vet­er­ans arrive for open­ing cer­e­monies of the 25th Nation­al Dis­abled Vet­er­ans Win­ter Sports Clin­ic at Snow­mass Vil­lage, Colo., March 27, 2011.
DOD pho­to by Don­na Miles
Click to enlarge

“Those of you who have been here before know why,” he told this year’s par­tic­i­pants, many of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Those of you who are new to the clin­ic will soon know. There is some­thing here for every­one.”

The clin­ic, joint­ly spon­sored by the Vet­er­ans Affairs Depart­ment and DAV, uses recre­ation as a reha­bil­i­ta­tive tool for vet­er­ans with dis­abil­i­ties rang­ing from spinal cord injuries and ortho­pe­dic ampu­ta­tions to visu­al impair­ment and neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions.

As they learn adap­tive alpine and Nordic ski­ing and get intro­duced to rock climb­ing, scu­ba div­ing, trap­shoot­ing, curl­ing, snow­mo­bil­ing and sled hock­ey dur­ing a five-day pro­gram, the vet­er­ans’ eyes get opened to a whole new world of oppor­tu­ni­ty.

“It is all about redefin­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties in the life of a seri­ous­ly wound­ed vet­er­an,” Gould told Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice. “This set of events here is all about cre­at­ing that moment where a vet­er­an looks up at the hill and feels in the pit of their stom­ach, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,” whether because it’s a whole new expe­ri­ence or a first return to the moun­tain with a dis­abil­i­ty.

“It is all about the cama­raderie and the team­work and the coax­ing and the safe­ty and the train­ing and coach­ing that leads that per­son to get in the chair­lift for the first time and go to the top of the hill,” Gould said.

“And that moment is very impor­tant. It is an expe­ri­en­tial kind of learn­ing,” he added. “And it moves the vet­er­an from a clin­ic envi­ron­ment … to one in which they are guid­ing their own recov­ery.”

Those lessons, he said, will remain with the par­tic­i­pants long after they leave Snow­mass Moun­tain and the Nation­al Dis­abled Vet­er­ans Win­ter Sports Clin­ic.

“They fig­ure out what they can do next — the next move, the next chal­lenge,” Gould said. “And maybe they take a look at Aspen and say, ‘Life has some beau­ti­ful qual­i­ties to it. My life is changed, but not over.’ ”

Tyson relayed his own expe­ri­ence par­tic­i­pat­ing in the clin­ic and its pow­er in help­ing dis­abled vet­er­ans focus on their abil­i­ties rather than their dis­abil­i­ties.

“You will face chal­lenges,” he told the group, warn­ing that they’re like­ly to come away from the expe­ri­ence tired, sore, and per­haps even with a few bruis­es.

“But you will come out of it stronger in every pos­si­ble way,” Tyson said.

Biden made a sur­prise appear­ance at last night’s open­ing cer­e­mo­ny. The pre­vi­ous day he’d thanked the hun­dreds of vol­un­teers and staff mem­bers that work to make the sports clin­ic a suc­cess.

Snow­mass Vil­lage rolled out the red car­pet to the par­tic­i­pants, host­ing the annu­al “Taste of Aspen” as the event kicked off.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →