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Injured Veterans Benefit from Summer Sports

Veterans in kayaks throw a football

Rehabilitation events allow Veterans to reach their full potential.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer
Monday, September 16, 2013

It’s called kayak football and it may never make it to prime time but for dozens of injured Veterans, it brought out an energy and spirit that that not only strengthened their bodies but helped to improve their confidence and self worth.

Kayak football is just one of the activities of VA’s Summer Sports Clinic underway this week in San Diego, Calif.

The unique sport involved the Veterans’ families and coaches, who were cheering loudly from the dock. The game tested dexterity and balance and the ability to throw a wet football while seated in a kayak.

After multiple spills into the water, all participants came out laughing, smiling and wet. One Veteran noted that, “Being here has given me the inspiration, the help and the confidence to stay committed. Being able to meet such great people…this has really had a big impact on me.”

The annual clinic offers adventure sports and recreational activities such as sailing, surfing, track and field events, kayaking and cycling (hand and tandem) to those who were recently injured.

Here’s a video of the sailing activity.

 Being here has given me the inspiration to stay committed. 

Complimenting the therapy provided in daily rehabilitation programs, the clinic shares a glimpse of the many exciting recreational opportunities awaiting those Veterans who accept the challenge.

With the variety of water and summer sports available at the Clinic, this week-long journey hosts Veterans from all over the country who have a variety of injuries, ranging from traumatic brain injury and polytrauma to spinal cord injury or loss of limb.

Its fundamental purpose is to provide early intervention for Veterans battling back from injury.

VA is committed to improving the quality of life for Veterans with disabilities. Participants in the Summer Sports Clinic develop sports skills and take part in a variety of adaptive sports workshops. Clinic participation demonstrates that having a physical or visual disability is not an obstacle to an active rewarding life.

A Veteran with one arm rides a wave with his surf board

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the leader in rehabilitation therapies.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the leader in rehabilitation therapies available to the nation’s injured Veterans. VA believes that healing the entire person is the most effective way to bring about positive change. Rehabilitation events specifically designed for healing the entire person allow eligible Veterans to gain motivation to reach their full potential, improve their independence, achieve a healthier lifestyle and enjoy a higher quality of life.

Participating in activities that are exciting and fun reinforces to our nation’s heroes that they can successfully adapt to their new lives after an injury, discover new interests and continue to participate in many activities they enjoyed in the past. These are the goals of the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic.

In addition to the Summer Sports Clinic, VA currently sponsors or co-sponsors five other national rehabilitation events each year: the National Veterans Wheelchair Games; the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic; the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival; the National Veterans Golden Age Games and the National Veterans TEE Tournament.