Veterans across the U.S. are discovering a new sport with a wealth of benefits: adaptive skating.

Learn to Skate USA and USA Figure Skating hosted five Adaptive SkateFests in 2019. The SkateFests featured sessions where beginner skaters received free stand-up ice skating lessons taught by certified Learn to Skate USA instructors. U.S. Figure Skating received a $52,000 grant from VA to benefit Veterans, active duty military and people with disabilities. Programs were in Arlington, Virginia; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Antioch, Tennessee; and Coral Springs, Florida.

Learn to Skate USA offers an adaptive skating program for skaters with a range of physical or developmental disabilities. Taught by certified instructors, the program engages people for recreation, activity and enjoyment.

“I was so excited to skate, but I had little to no concept of how it would actually happen,” said Cara Liebowitz, an Arlington SkateFest attendee. “The event exceeded my wildest dreams, truly. I’ll never forget it.”

Lisa Musmanno was one of the instructors at the SkateFests. Musmanno, a lifelong skater, is the daughter of a Marine. She said the SkateFests brought families together through a fun program.

“Skating is something you don’t think you can do, but you can,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what age or where you’re from, skating overwhelmingly brings joy. Working with Veterans and hearing some of their stories was amazing. When they’re smiling on the ice and telling you these stories, you realize how sport can make things better, even if it’s for a moment.”

She said skating isn’t just an elite sport and encourages Veterans to give it a try.

“It’s truly something you start to love.”

VA sports grants

VA awarded $14.8 million in grants for adaptive sports programs benefitting Veterans with disabilities and disabled members of the Armed Forces at the end of September.

Adaptive Skating USA is a grant recipient, led by a disabled Veteran. Sherri Putnam began ice skating in 2014 as a form of physical therapy and became a fan of the sport. The nonprofit, headquartered in New Jersey, offers skating at Central Park’s Wollman Rink in New York City.

“Young men and women are typically in excellent health when they join the military,” Putnam said. “Yet Veterans often come home in an entirely different state – they must fight to regain their health, manage a disorder or disability, and restore relationships with loved ones. Adaptive Skating USA’s aim is to empower these individuals to win this battle through the exhilarating and wellness-promoting activity of ice skating. The skills that are learned on the ice can also transcend into other areas of life, thus improving quality of life. In ice skating, just as in life, skaters with disabilities learn to fall, never give up, and get back up to accomplish their dreams.”

To learn about adaptive skating program, go to To find a location, go to

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By Air Force Veteran Adam Stump is a member of VA's Digital Media Engagement team.

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Published on Dec. 31, 2019

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 345


  1. Bonnie Tellez January 15, 2020 at 11:54 am

    This was being offered last year for free in those locations. I believe if you want to participate now, you would just go to those same locations and pay the fee for the class. Not sure why they continue to send the Vets this info after all of these events and workshops have ended. If we’re all just finding this info out about last august… then which veterans attended the programs? Lol

  2. george labounty January 8, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    i would be interested in teaching basic skating skills i live in ct and go to the west haven va i was a member of the usfa and did dance

  3. Jeffrey Feller January 7, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    How do you find a skating venue/program program by you?

  4. Ralph Edward Krause Jr. January 6, 2020 at 12:16 am

    Am a veteran of USAF, AND 50% disabled…I can use my legs fairly well, but would love to learn to skate.
    Is there a place here in Tulsa that I can attend some lessons? Thank you….

  5. Peter Julian January 4, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Do you have any classes in broward county Florida?

  6. martha alice lovell January 2, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    what disability veteran can participate in this?> I live in col springs, am a 90% disabled veteran, having served 28 yrs active. I have minimal disabilities that you can physically see, except for ‘benign essential tremors’-meaning my hands shake sometimes. the reason i am asking what veterans are eligible is because I applied for the guitar learning program thru this same DAV Vantage Point and was told it is only for veterans with severe PTSD. please respond. thx,

    • Bonnie Tellez January 15, 2020 at 1:29 pm

      Here is he info you need. Please disregard my earlier posting. I had to do some detective work haha

      I hope this helps all of you

  7. Ruth Elaine Webster January 2, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    I would LOVE to learn to skate. Are they coming to San Antonio anytime soon???

  8. Ruth Elaine Webster January 2, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    When are they coming to San Antonio?

  9. Buzz Headlines January 1, 2020 at 5:25 am

    Adaptive Skating might just be one of the best thing to happen in sport

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