SportsAbilities Adaptive Sports and Disability Resources
VA Adaptive Sports
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Are Adaptive Sports?
Adaptive sports are played by people with physical, cognitive (e.g., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury) or visual disabilities.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Participating in Adaptive Sports?
Recent studies indicate that disabled Veterans who participate in adaptive sports report benefits such as:
- less stress
- reduced dependency on pain and depression medication
- fewer secondary medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension)
- higher achievement in education and employment
- more independence
Are Paralympic Sports and Adaptive Sports the Same Thing?
Both "Paralympic" and "adaptive" can be used when referring to recreational sports for those with a physical or visual disability. To keep things simple, the VA National Veterans Sports Programs & Special Events Office uses the term "adaptive sports" when referring to the programs it is promoting. The Paralympic Games is the second largest elite sports competition for people with a physical or visual disability and runs parallel to the Olympic Games, hence the prefix 'Para.' Disabled Veterans are encouraged to participate at any or all of these levels.
How Can Disabled Veterans Participate in Adaptive Sports?
Any Veteran with a physical, cognitive (e.g., PTSD, TBI) or visual disability can participate in adaptive sports. No matter your age or athletic abilities, there is an adaptive sport for you.
How Can I Learn More About the Sports Available to Me?
The best way to learn about opportunities is to talk to your VA clinical team who can help you choose the right sport. The U.S. Paralympics website also has a chart that will help you determine the sports available to you based on your disability.
Do I Need to be in Good Shape to Participate in Adaptive Sports?
You can participate in adaptive sports at any level for fun and recreation or to meet personal fitness goals. If you are ready for the next level, you might consider training to become an elite athlete who could possibly compete on the Paralympic level.
Where Can I Learn About Programs In My Community?
To learn more about adaptive sports programs in your local community, you can talk to your VA clinical team or visit the Calendars By State tab on the Toolbar above.
Is there Financial Assistance to Help Me Buy Equipment, Participate, and Travel?Financial assistance from VA may be available to you as a Veteran to offset the cost of equipment, participation and travel. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides assistance through the Prosthetic & Sensory Aids Service (PSAS) program, which your VA clinical team can explain to you. VA clinical personnel can help you choose the right equipment and discuss resources.
What Annual National Sports Programs Can I Participate In As A Veteran?
The National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic promotes rehabilitation of body and spirit by teaching summer sporting activities to Veterans with significant physical or psychological impairments. The clinic offers such sports as surfing, sailing, kayaking, track and field, and cycling to Veterans who are newly injured from amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other neurological disorders.
The National Disabled Veterans Winter Clinic promotes rehabilitation by instructing Veterans with disabilities in adaptive Alpine and Nordic skiing and introducing them to a number of other adaptive recreational activities and sports. Participants include Veterans with spinal cord injuries, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, neurological challenges and visual impairments.
The National Veterans TEE Tournament uses a therapeutic format to promote rehabilitation, fellowship and camaraderie among participants. The TEE tournament also provides legally blind and eligible disabled Veterans an opportunity to develop new skills and strengthen their self-esteem through adaptive golf and bowling events.
The National Veterans Wheelchair Games is the largest annual wheelchair sports competition in the world. It promotes rehabilitation through rigorous competition in basketball, rugby, softball, handcycling and other sports. This event offers 17 different sports to Veterans who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord injuries, amputations and neurological diseases.
The National Creative Arts Festival is a competition that recognizes Veterans for their creative accomplishments. It is the culmination of talent competitions in art, creative writing, dance, drama and music for Veterans treated in the VA's national health care system.
Please Note that events and times are subject to change without notice. The Veterans Administration and SportsAbilities are not responsible for user generated events listed here and we recommend contacting the hosting organization prior to attending.
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