My recent blog post Healing Injuries Through Sports, focused on the role that service men and women were making in the world of disabled sports and how with the use of adaptations are able to participate in activities, that some may have felt no longer able to do.
Service members who participate in adaptive sports, especially through training camps, gain a new sense of self-purpose, where through intensive training; instructors have witnessed a “massive transformation” in the outlook of participants.
Many recovering service members, who participate in adaptive sports and athletic reconditioning, also enjoy mental and emotional benefits from increased physical activity. The Marine Corps also pairs new athletes with mentors, usually older veterans, who have already triumphed over similar experiences.
Adaptive sports for injured military personnel, particularly through training offered by each of the Military Services, also prepares athletes for competitive events such as the Warrior Games, which will begin at the end of the month and will run through to May 5th , in Colorado Springs, USA.
According to Tom Hopkins, project manager for the Marine Corps’ Warrior Athlete Reconditioning Program, adaptive sports opportunities continue even when wounded warriors transition to veteran status. The Veterans Administration’s Adaptive Sports Program works with VA staff, the U.S. Paralympics and other community-based adaptive sports organisations, to encourage disabled veterans to redefine themselves by participating or competing.
Some veterans, who are training in their respective sports, are provided a monthly allowance by the VA. In addition, the VA also provides grants to U.S. Paralympics member organisations, Paralympic Sports Clubs, along with other veteran and military groups.
The goal of any adaptive sports program is to show athletes that they are capable of more than they think. There is no limit to the adaptations that can be made to sporting equipment, including bicycles, rifles and archery bows.
As Tom Hopkins also pointed out, “If the desire is there, there is always an engineer or someone who can transform the apparatus to meet the requirements needed.” Some adaptations now include a shooting system for visually impaired athletes that beep when the shooter is within target range, as well as bikes that can be fitted for single amputees, double amputees, triple amputees and quadriplegics.
Further reading includes Wounded warriors are right on target and you can also follow the Warrior Games on Facebook. Also check out U.S Olympic Committee to Host UK Allies for 2012 Warrior Games