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VA Adaptive Sports

Disabled Veterans

Get Healthy, Stay Fit and Have Fun:
The Benefits of Adaptive Sports

We want you to know that no matter your disability, age or skill level, an adaptive sports opportunity exists for you. But, besides the fun, new friendships and exercise, why should you consider adaptive sports? Studies show that adaptive sports provide the following clear benefits for disabled Veterans:

  • less stress
  • reduced dependency on pain and depression medication
  • fewer secondary medical conditions (i.e., diabetes, hypertension)
  • higher achievement in education and employment
  • more independence

Participating in adaptive sports allows you to redefine yourself and live an active, healthy and fun lifestyle.

Veteran Success Stories

There are thousands of disabled Veterans participating in adaptive sports in VA facilities and communities across the country. We know the adjustment from active service member to disabled Veteran can be a difficult one. We also know that participating in adaptive sports makes you healthy, happy and physically fit. Check out these stories below and read about the challenges and triumphs of fellow disabled Veterans. If you have a story of your own, please click on the Share Your Story button below so we can share it.

Adaptive Sports by Disability

Ever wonder which adaptive sport might be a good match for your disability? Below is a short list of adaptive sports by disability that can provide some insight into the many choices available. However, many sports have been adapted for multiple disabilities, so you should talk to your VA clinical team if a particular sport interests you but isn't on the list for your disability. Your VA clinical team can give you guidance on which sports may be a good fit for you and they can even help you order the right equipment. To learn more and locate community-based adaptive sports programs in your community, use the Sports Club Finder. All of these resources can help you get started.

Click on the following links to learn about a sampling of adaptive sports that could be a good fit for your disability. Your VA clinical team can provide you with a complete list of adaptive sports by disability and let you know about all of the opportunities available.

Adaptive Sports for Amputees
  • kayaking
  • basketball
  • strength & conditioning
  • aquatics
  • air rifle
Note: For a more extensive list of all the adaptive sports available to disabled Veterans who are amputees, contact your local VA clinical team or connect with a local sports program in your community by visiting the Sports Club Finder page.
Adaptive Sports for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • cycling
  • goal ball
  • judo
  • skiing
  • swimming
Note: For a more extensive list of all the adaptive sports available to disabled Veterans who are blind or visually impaired, contact your local VA clinical team, connect with a local sports program in your community by visiting the Sports Club Finder page or check out the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) website.
Adaptive Sports for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • air rifle
  • archery
  • cycling
  • kayaking
  • strength & conditioning
Note: A PTSD diagnosis alone does not require adaptive equipment. On some occasions PTSD is a secondary diagnosis paired with a variety of disabilities. TBI can range from mild to severe and can require adaptive equipment depending on the severity of the head injury. Contact your local VA clinical team to determine appropriate adaptive equipment needs and information on how to participate in sports programs and clinics.
Adaptive Sports for Spinal Cord Injury
  • air rifle
  • basketball
  • cycling: Hand cycles
  • tennis
  • track & field
Note: For a more extensive list of all the adaptive sports available to disabled Veterans with spinal cord injuries, contact your local VA clinical team and connect with a local sports program in your community by visiting the Sports Club Finder page.
Paralympic Sport Competition
Interested in competing at an elite Paralympic level? The criteria for participation are different than for participating in adaptive sports at lower levels. For a complete list of competitive Paralympic sports, visit the U.S. Paralympic website.

Ready to compete? The VA Paralympic Program Office provides a monthly assistance allowance to disabled Veterans training in their respective sports as authorized by the Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008. Through this program, VA will pay a monthly allowance to a Veteran with a service-related or non-service-related disability if the Veteran meets the qualifying military standard for a particular sport. To learn more about the qualifying standards for each sport, send an email to: paralympicinfo@usoc.org.

Want to learn more about programs and services related to healthcare, employment, education and other topics? Visit the National Resource Directory (www.NRD.gov).