The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded nearly $2.3 million to 14 Colorado organizations that provide adaptive sports programming for disabled service members.
Colorado’s award was part of a larger $14.8 million grant to 126 organizations nationally. The programs serve an estimated 11,000 veterans in total.
Adaptive sports allow for modifications to physical activities that would benefit people with — for instance — wheelchairs, visual disabilities, or missing and prosthetic limbs.
Military.com reports that adaptive sports provide service members a "new mission," allowing them to avoid feelings of being different, and making them part of something "bigger than themselves" again.
Twelve of the 14 organizations are in the service area of VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, which provides care in the Front Range and Eastern Plains.
“By collaborating with our community partners, our recreation therapy department has blossomed into new recreation opportunities that can help prepare our Veterans for the National Veterans Golden Age Games and the National Veterans Wheelchair Games competition,” said the system’s recreation therapy supervisor, Adeline Velasquez, in a press release.
The physical activities supported include cycling, kayaking, archery, hiking, hunting and paragliding.
An estimated 380,000 veterans live in Colorado.
The 14 awardees are:
Adaptive Sports Center of Crested Butte, Inc.
Adaptive Sports USA
Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center
Harmony Acres Equestrian Center
National Archery Association of the United States
National Sports Center for the Disabled
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl
Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports
United States Association for Blind Athletes
United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
Vail Veterans Foundation