More than 600 of America’s best wheelchair athletes, all disabled U.S. military Veterans, are arriving in Dallas, Texas, for the 35th National Veterans Wheelchair Games being held June 21–26.

“The Wheelchair Games is a great example of courage and athleticism,” said VA Secretary Bob McDonald. “If you want to see grit, determination and some of the finest athletes on the planet, this week in Dallas is the place to do it.  These Veterans have overcome obstacles, they’ve trained, they’ve persevered, and now they’re ready to compete on the world’s stage.”

VA and Paralyzed Veterans of America present the games each year. The multi-event sports rehabilitation program is open to U.S. military Veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, amputations or certain neurological problems, and who receive care at VA medical facilities or military treatment centers.

“For 35 years now the National Veterans Wheelchair Games have provided a venue for veterans to experience the life-changing power of adaptive sports,” said Al Kovach Jr., national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “We’re proud to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs each year to present the games, and encourage the Dallas community to come out and support our veteran athletes.”

Wheelchair obstacle course

Wheelchair obstacle course

Veterans competing in the games come from nearly every state, as well as Puerto Rico and Great Britain. For many of them, the event is their first exposure to wheelchair athletics which VA research and clinical experience has verified that physical activity is important to maintaining good health, speeding recovery and improving overall quality of life.

Opening ceremonies will be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Main Arena, 650 S. Griffin St., where many of the week’s competitive events will be held. The closing ceremonies will be held at the Sheraton Downtown Dallas Ballroom, 400 N. Olive St.  Other events will be held at Southern Methodist University, Victory Plaza, Fair Park, McKinnish Park, Ellis County Sportsman Club and many more venues around the Dallas Metroplex.

The Wheelchair Games is occurring this year during VA’s “Summer of Service,” a new initiative designed to build upon existing partnerships to grow the number of individuals and organizations serving Veterans in their communities. For a complete schedule of events and additional information about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games visit www.wheelchairgames.org. For more information about the Summer of Service initiative, visit www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2706.

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Published on Jun. 17, 2015

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