United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Jim Milliken

Men in wheelchairs playing Quad Rugby.

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2011 Profile - Jim Milliken

Army Veteran Jim Milliken

Army Combat-Wounded Veteran of the Vietnam War
64 years old
South Bend, Indiana

Jim Milliken, a longtime participant in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, is a dedicated athlete who has learned through years of experience that training is the key to success.

Each year, Milliken heads to his local pool, nearly every day, to swim so that he stays in shape for the Games. In the past six years, his training has paid off as Milliken has placed first in each of his swimming events. Milliken says he plans to continue that tradition for a long time.

Winning is a goal for many wheelchair athletes who compete in the Games, and Milliken has certainly reached the top of his sport. In 1988, he was selected to be a part of the Paralympic swim team in Seoul, Korea. Milliken also competes as a member of a YMCA swim team, often against able-bodied people nearly half his age.

Milliken’s story is one of true triumph. While honorably serving his country, he was badly injured by a landmine while on patrol in Vietnam. Despite immediate surgery, doctors were unable to save his legs. He left the service as a double amputee, but through the rehabilitation of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, he gained back his spirit and drive to enjoy life to the fullest.

“The National Veterans Wheelchair Games are a wonderful opportunity for injured Veterans to get active again,” Milliken said. For those who have competed before, it is a chance to enjoy the spirit of the Games and see old friends. If you can do this, then you can do anything. Meeting this challenge will help you down the road of life.”