Vets Roll In to Richmond for "The Games"



Mission Redefined

“When I see everyone, my heart just jumps.”

That’s how Navy Veteran and athlete Doris Merrill, 87, feels when she gets to the Games.

“The Games” are the National Veterans Wheelchair Games

It’s a multi-event sports and rehabilitation program for military service Veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, amputations or certain neurological problems.

Read Doris’ story and other dramatic anecdotes in the sidebar to this article.

Attracting more than 500 athletes each year, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games is the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world.

Twitter much? Here’s the hashtag
for the games: #NVWG

This year, the event will be held in Richmond, Va., from June 25 to 30.

The presenters of this event are committed to improving the quality of life for Veterans with disabilities and fostering better health through sports competition.

The majority of participants have a spinal cord injury requiring that they use wheelchairs most or all of the time. These include paraplegic and quadriplegic athletes. Many of the athletes use manual wheelchairs. However, a large number of the quadriplegic athletes use motorized (power) wheelchairs. Other reasons for wheelchair use include lower extremity amputations (single or bilateral), neurological diseases or injuries such as multiple sclerosis or strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and other disabilities.

While past Games have produced a number of national and world-class champions, the Games also provide opportunities for newly-disabled Veterans to gain sports skills and be exposed to other wheelchair athletes.

Typically, one-quarter of the competitors have never participated in any type of organized wheelchair sports competition.

The Games are presented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America, with financial assistance from corporate, civic and Veteran service organizations.

The event this year is being hosted by Hunter Holmes McGuire (Richmond) VA Medical Center.

There are 17 different competitive sports, plus a variety of exhibition or demonstration sports that vary each year.

Competitive events at the 2012 National Veterans Wheelchair Games include:

Athletes compete in all events against others with similar athletic ability, competitive experience or age.

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