USA — Injured Veterans Wrap Up Sports Clinic

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2011 — The fourth-annu­al Nation­al Vet­er­ans Sum­mer Sports Clin­ic that drew 100 injured mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, includ­ing three active-duty Marines, con­cludes today in San Diego.

This year’s clin­ic began Sept. 18. The year­ly clin­ics, spon­sored pri­mar­i­ly by the Vet­er­ans Affairs Depart­ment, fea­ture work­shops designed to assist injured vet­er­ans to devel­op sports skills, offi­cials said.

Atten­dees par­tic­i­pat­ed in adap­tive kayak­ing, sail­ing, track and field, cycling, and surf­ing.

For many par­tic­i­pants, the clin­ic is their first expo­sure to the ther­a­peu­tic val­ue of adap­tive sports and recre­ation­al activ­i­ties, offi­cials said.

“The Sum­mer Sports Clin­ic is proof of VA’s com­mit­ment to improve the qual­i­ty of life for vet­er­ans with dis­abil­i­ties,” Vet­er­ans Affairs Sec­re­tary Eric K. Shin­se­ki said. “The clin­ic helps our most severe­ly injured vet­er­ans gain phys­i­cal and men­tal con­fi­dence.”

This year’s group of vet­er­ans attend­ing the clin­ic had sus­tained injuries such as ampu­ta­tions, trau­mat­ic brain injuries, burns, psy­cho­log­i­cal trau­ma, cer­tain neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions, visu­al impair­ments and spinal cord injuries.

At the out­set of the clin­ic, VA’s under­sec­re­tary for health, Dr. Robert Pet­zel, said par­tic­i­pants would be sur­round­ed by fel­low vet­er­ans who share com­mon bonds though their ser­vice.

“The clin­ic helps wound­ed vet­er­ans return to active lifestyles through phys­i­cal and men­tal reha­bil­i­ta­tion,” Pet­zel added.

The VA’s San Diego Health­care Sys­tem has host­ed the clin­ic since 2008. Oth­er clin­ic spon­sors this year include its founders, Help Hos­pi­tal­ized Vet­er­ans and the Vet­er­ans Can­teen Ser­vice, as well as San Diego Mar­riott Mar­quis and Mari­na, Cis­co Sys­tems Inc., Health Net, Booz Allen Hamil­ton and Chal­lenged Amer­i­ca.

The 2012 Nation­al Vet­er­ans Sum­mer Sports Clin­ic is sched­uled to be held in San Diego from Sept. 16 to 21.

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