VETSports is a non-profit organization helping Veterans achieve better physical, mental, and emotional health through participation in community involvement, physical activity and sports. In August 2012, three combat Veterans founded VETSports to create opportunities for Veterans to reintegrate into civilian life.
The organization established chapter leagues throughout the country, serving more than 700 Veterans a week. Active sports leagues include football, softball, golf, running, volleyball and hockey. Leagues focus on team-building, health and serving local communities.
VETSports left fielder Taylor Urruela was safe at home after firefighter Nicki Claveau’s late tag in the VETSports softball game in St. Petersburg. The charity event featured a seven-inning slow-pitch game between wounded Veterans and local firefighters and police officers.
National VETSports teams travel the country playing charity games. These charity games often give monetary support, and more importantly, inspire young children with disabilities, who are able to watch games played by amputee athletes.
Over the past 7 years, the organization supported Veterans by providing a community of Veterans, supporting each other in both physical and mental pursuits. Further, by purposefully serving communities, VETSports events and teams have a unified goal to push toward.
“At VETSports we aim to tackle overall health and reintegration for our Veterans through weekly sports activities and events as a member of a team and family. Our Veteran’s drive our mission and programs, and have helped us grow to over 20 chapters nationally. We are excited to work with the VA and reach as many Veterans as possible to get them involved, active, and healthy,“ President Randy Tharp said.
The organization also help Veteran athletes train and enter professional leagues. The VETSports Sponsored Athlete Program (VSAP) helps athletes and teams by directly funding uniforms, registration fees, equipment and travel needs. VSAP has sponsored Paralympian’s, baseball players, softball teams and race car drivers.
Recently the group launched VETSports University to support Veterans. The program offers scholarships, internships, and career assistance to return to school or pursue a sports industry career. By promoting courage, resilience and teamwork, VETSports supports Veterans by creating community and opportunity on and off the field.
For more information, visit vetsports.org.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of the VA.
Sophia Tragesser is a Virtual Student Federal Service Intern with Salem VA Medical Center. She is a student at the University of Saint Thomas, Minnesota.