Wheelchair Games celebrates 40th anniversary with hybrid sports event

Post Date:August 10, 2021

Founded in 1981 to help paralyzed and disabled veterans improve their health and wellbeing, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games is celebrating its 40th anniversary this week in New York City. Events kicked off on August 7 and will run through August 14The Wheelchair Games are co-presented each year by Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs and is the largest annual rehabilitation wheelchair sports event solely designed for military veterans.
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"Every year, our members look forward to this event for the competition and camaraderie. For many of them, the Wheelchair Games is a turning point, when they go from being housebound to being active and involved in their communities," said Jennifer Purser, Senior Associate Director of PVA Sports, Paralyzed Veterans of America. "Meanwhile, many athletes return to not only compete but also to mentor newly injured veterans – these are just a few of the many reasons the Wheelchair Games are so special."

Veterans from across the country are actively competing in 20 adaptive sports, including wheelchair basketball, swimming, cycling, powerlifting, power soccer, and more, both in-person and from home. Longtime partners PVA and VA provide disabled veterans with specialized health care and recreational opportunities, like the Wheelchair Games, to help them thrive and lead full, independent lives.

"We use the Wheelchair Games to inspire our veterans to challenge themselves, be active and stay healthy, both mentally and physically," said David Tostenrude, VA Director of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. "Veterans are introduced to adaptive sports to regain strength and boost confidence while they're in rehab at VA hospitals."

Among the many highlights at this year's Wheelchair Games is disc golf, which was newly added to the sports lineup. Other 2021 high points include wheelchair basketball, which will play at Rucker Park in Harlem, and powerlifting, which will take place at the top of Rockefeller Center. For the latest information about the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, visit wheelchairgames.org. For additional high resolution photos visit our Flickr site.

PVA and VA are grateful to the generous sponsors for their support of this year's event, which include: First Nation Group, UPS, VCS, Nike, Invacare, Weis Markets, Deloitte, Penske Truck Leasing, Bristol Myers Squibb, TriWest, Leidos, NMEDA, Permobil, Sunrise Medical, Genentech, Windstream, Comcast NBCUniversal, Cigna, Tishman Speyer, American Airlines, EquipSystems, 4imprint, and Xerox.

For information about accessibility and adaptive sports near you, visit PVA.org or VA Sports & Therapeutic Arts.

About Paralyzed Veterans of America:
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For 75 years, the organization has ensured that veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, Paralyzed Veterans of America also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families, and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at PVA.org.

About the Department of Veterans Affairs:
The Department of Veterans Affairs, National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events, provides opportunities for Veterans to improve their independence, well-being and quality of life through adaptive sports and therapeutic arts programs. As leaders in adaptive sports and therapeutic arts programs that complement VA's rehabilitation system of care, the program encourages Veterans and members of the Armed Forces with disabilities to stretch beyond perceived limitations.

In service of this mission, the office directs six national rehabilitation events delivering direct patient care to Veterans eligible for VA health care. These programs embrace formalized adaptive sports medicine as a practice specialty and provide the largest coordinated therapeutic arts program for Veterans.