Adaptive sports for wounded warriors to become law

Athletes sprinted across the finish line during the 100 Meter Dash at the Warrior Games track and field events in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 17, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Athletes sprinted across the finish line during the 100 Meter Dash at the Warrior Games track and field events in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 17, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Adaptive sports have become a significant recovery and healing tool in the arsenal to assist wounded warriors as they achieve their new normal. The military services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, non-profits, etc., have implemented many adaptive sports programs to show wounded warriors what they can accomplish. With wounded warrior success in mind, a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 would provide adaptive recreational programs and equipment to eligible Service members to augment the rehabilitative and reconditioning process.

“This amendment will open the door for active duty wounded warriors to daily exercise and friendly athletic competition, which research has shown can improve wounded warriors’ confidence and quality of life,” said U.S. Representative Jay Inslee (WA-01) in a press release about the provision (Sec. 589. Military Adaptive Sports Program).

The goal of the provision is to give wounded, ill and injured Service members access to adaptive sports equipment to keep them active. The provision language outlines that the Secretary of Defense will consult with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and avoid duplicating programs conducted by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 before the end of the year.

This provision coincides with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s and U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command’s announcements of the third annual Warrior Games. The Warrior Games is an example of a joint effort that provides an introduction to adaptive sports for the treatment and recovery of wounded warriors. Athletes from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Special Operations will compete for the gold in adaptive sports, April 30-May 5, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

To find out about available sports and recreations programs, visit the the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Resource Directory.