August 8 - 12, 2015
About The National Veterans Golden Age Games
The National Veterans Golden Age Games is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States, and the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. The National Veterans Golden Age Games (NVGAG) is one of the most progressive and adaptive rehabilitative senior sports programs in the world. The Games serve as a qualifying event for competition in the National Senior Games in a number of competitive events.
Sports and fitness are vital ingredients of VA’s National Rehabilitation Special Events. Physical activity and friendly competition engage the mind as well as the body, and recreation therapy fills a special need in the lives of older patients at VA health centers across the country. VA research and clinical experience verify that physical activity is particularly important to the health, recovery and overall quality of life for older people. The National Veterans Golden Age Games encourage VA patients over the age of 55 to make physical activity a central part of their lives, and support VA’s comprehensive recreation and rehabilitation therapy programs. It is a national showcase for the preventive and therapeutic value of sports, fitness and recreation for all older Americans.
The competitive events included air rifle, badminton, bowling, cycling, dominoes, field (discus, shot, javelin), golf, horseshoes, nine ball, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and track. Exhibition sports include bocce, blind disc golf, 3-on-3 basketball and racquetball.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Veterans Canteen Service (VCS)
Local Host Site Coordinator
John Martinez had a pinched nerve, took medicine for pain in his legs and attended physical therapy at his local VA medical center in Fresno, Calif.
“I never thought I was going to walk again,” John said.
Then his doctors recommended surgery, something John couldn’t accept. He said, “When I was in the military you could always find me at the gym, and I felt great.”
That’s when a friend told him about Break the Barriers, a program that trains disabled Veterans and provides them with personal care from professional trainers. The program costs the Veteran nothing and is a former recipient of the VA Adaptive Sports Grant Program.
The 62 year old U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and California National Guard Veteran threw his cane aside and started training. “I strive for competition,” he said and didn’t want to be seen as any less of a competitor because of his cane.
John began working out his legs and trained for swimming. Feeling confident again, he signed up for the 2013 National Veterans Golden Age Games which was only a month away. Although he didn’t do as well as he hoped in the games, he was determined to do better in 2014.
John competed in swimming, air rifle, precision walking, javelin, shot put, discus, cycling and power walking this year, and medaled in eight out of ten events.
An impressive feat considering that this time last year John was still walking with a cane. Now, he is completely free of all pain medication and able to work out a few hours a day. He spends a lot of his time coaching other Veterans and encourages them to stay active.
“If you want to stay healthy, go to the gym,” he says.
John doesn’t have any plans to slow down. He’s constantly looking for new competition opportunities. He says, “When I didn’t have my health, I felt wounded. Now, I feel normal again.”
Congratulations John Martinez, the 2014 George Gangi Inspiration Award recipient.
The George Gangi Inspiration Award honors the competitor at the National Veterans Golden Age Games who exemplifies the attributes of a true champion through athletic excellence as well as personal qualities such as sportsmanship, leadership, fellowship and tenacity.
The Games are all about health and fitness, so it is important that Veterans train throughout the year. Just ask George Henry, who served in the Army and Navy. He goes to the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center’s (MEDVAMC) fitness center in Houston, Texas almost daily to train and stay in shape.
Recently, MEDVAMC closed their fitness center briefly, for remodeling. “I didn’t know what to do with myself while the fitness center was closed,” said Henry. “Now that the fitness center is open again, I have a place where I can train for the Golden Age Games.”
Keeping Veterans healthy and fit is a top priority for the Houston VA, and their Veterans make it a priority as well.
“I have been looking forward to the reopening of the fitness center,” said Army Veteran Basil Morehead, who also uses the MEDVAMC fitness center to train for the Games. “I really missed the camaraderie and being able to talk fitness with my fellow Veterans.”
Henry is scheduled to compete in dominoes, horseshoes, shot put, and the 1/2 mile power walk. Morehead’s events include javelin, shot put, discus, dominoes, and air rifle. In the end, it doesn’t matter where you train, just as long as you come ready to compete!
All participants must be seen by their VA Primary Care provider to be medically cleared for the Games.
Who Must Register
All athletes, coaches, and support staff must register. Each individual registering must complete a separate registration form.
EligibilityAll Veterans, ages 55 or older, who currently receive inpatient or outpatient care from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
All athletes must enter at least four but no more than six events, excluding exhibition events.
All age classifications will be determined by the athlete's age as of January 1, 2015. There are seven age classifications: 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, and 85+. Athletes will compete by gender in the following events: badminton, cycling, field (discus, shot put, javelin), bowling, horseshoes, swimming and track. Visually impaired athletes will have a separate division in the following events: bowling, horseshoes, shuffleboard. Wheelchair athletes will have a separate division in the following events: bowling, horseshoes, nine ball shuffleboard, and table tennis.
Participants and staff are responsible for their own travel arrangements and funding. It is often helpful when traveling with a wheelchair or scooter to call the airline in advance and inform them of your needs. Let them know if you will need an aisle chair, arm rest removed or require harness belt or chest strap. Provide written equipment handling instructions. When traveling it is recommended that you carry all health and insurance information with personal travel documents. Important documents should be carried with Veteran or escort on the plane and not placed in checked luggage.
Lodging reservations and payment are the responsibility of the traveler. Specific information will be forwarded to athletes after acceptance of registration.
Medical assistance will be provided 24 hours a day as part of the 2015 National Veterans Golden Age Games. First aid and patient stabilization will be provided at the events and activities. Ambulances will be called if emergency care is needed. Medical assistance is not intended for pre-existing conditions. Athletes must bring with them enough medication and medical supplies to last throughout the Games. There are no provisions for providing replacement medications and medical supplies.
Contact the Veterans Affairs medical facility from which you receive care or a local Veterans Service Organization (VSO) for additional information.
What do I need to bring with me to the event?
Athletes should bring clothes for layers, tennis shoes, hat, sunscreen, umbrella, sunglasses, medication, personal identification and personal equipment (i.e. golf clubs, bowling ball)
If you are interested in learning more about the events that make up the National Veterans Golden Games, these are the organizations that guide the competition and will provide you the information to help prepare for the NVGAG
Air rifle - USA Shooting
Bowling - United States Bowling Congress
Bowling -Wheelchair -American Wheelchair Bowling Association
Bowling -Visually Impaired American Blind Bowling Association
Checkers - American Checker Federation
Cycling - USA Cycling
Field (Discus, Javelin, Shot Put) - USA Track & Field
Golf - United States Golf Association
Horseshoes - National Horseshoe Pitcher’s Association
Horseshoes Visually impaired - United States Blind Horseshoe Pitchers Association
Nine Ball - Billiard Congress of America
Shuffleboard- National Shuffleboard Association
Swimming - United States Masters Swimming, Inc.
Table Tennis - USA Table Tennis
Track- USA Track & Field