Family / Caregivers
Encourage Your Disabled Veteran to Get Active
Behind the success of adaptive sports athletes are family, friends and caregivers. Encouraging a disabled Veteran in your life to get involved in adaptive sports will likely have a positive impact on all of you. Studies show that disabled Veterans who participate in sports are significantly more likely to report better health and higher satisfaction with life. Much like the military community, the adaptive sports community naturally provides a support network of people who "get" the ongoing challenges and experiences you and your Veteran are facing. So, what can you do?
Get informed and then encourage your disabled Veteran to do the same. Here are a few ways that you can encourage the Veteran in your life to participate in adaptive sports:
- Give encouragement. Disabled Veterans need to know that they have people in their lives who want to help. Take the time to simply say that you will be there and are excited about the opportunity. It may be the nudge the Veteran in your life needs.
- Suggest options. You know the disabled Veteran in your life better than almost anyone. Help him or her pinpoint a sport of interest. You can find a short list of suggested sports based on disability on the Disabled Veterans page or on the U.S. Paralympic Team website if he or she is interested in becoming a Paralympic competitor.
- Provide information. Give the disabled Veteran in your life the FAQ and let them know that their VA clinical staff and / or the VA Paralympic Office can answer questions about adaptive sports.
- Take a field trip. Attend an adaptive sports game, match or practice. This can help the disabled Veteran realize that opportunities to participate in sports are both possible and realistic.
- Continuing support. As part of the disabled Veteran's support system, you can take on the role of advocate, trainer, logistics support or even biggest fan. Opportunities range from assisting with travel to setting up equipment to standing on the sidelines cheering them on. For a list of adaptive sports programs in your local community visit the Sports Club Finder.
Have additional questions or want more ideas on how to encourage your disabled Veteran to get involved in adaptive sports? Email us at vacoadaptiveSP@va.gov and we'll help you get started.