The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is building a team of Veterans to send to the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in April 2019.
The clinic gives profoundly disabled Veterans an opportunity for self-development and challenge through education, sports and leisure. It promotes rehabilitation by teaching downhill and cross-country skiing to Veterans with significant physical or visual impairments. At the clinic, Veterans are also introduced to other adaptive activities, such as rock climbing, scuba diving and sled hockey, and they have the opportunity to attend education workshops on such things as hand cycling, self-defense or public speaking.
Charleston VAMC Director Scott Isaacks attended the event in 2018 in Aspen, Colorado. He left inspired by the Veterans who were each eager to tackle new challenges on the slopes.
“As a medical center director, I deal with a lot of the business aspects of running the hospital, which is important, but the week in Colorado allowed me to reconnect with why I work for VA—to serve Veterans, providing them with the best health care anywhere and serving as a support system for them to achieve their goals and live their best life,” said Isaacks.
Last year, Charleston VAMC had four Veterans attend the event. With new efforts to build a larger team in 2019, the medical center is aiming to send a team of 10.
Visually impaired U.S. Air Force Veteran Joe Cooler from Hampton, South Carolina has attended the event four times now.
“I hadn’t skied since 1986 before I went to the Winter Sports Clinic in 2014,” said Cooler. “I can do anything I want to do. Guys with disabilities worse than mine are out there beating their challenges—its inspiring.”
For a list of qualifying disabilities and to find out more about the Winter Sports clinic, click here. If you know a Charleston VAMC patient who is interested in attending please have them email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (843) 789-7773. Registration for the 2019 event opens Aug. 1, 2018.