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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. August O'Niell, and his service dog, Kai, prepare to enter the stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports for the 2016 Invictus Games opening ceremony in Orlando, FL, May 8, 2016. O'Niell delivered the Invictus Games flag after hoisting down from a HH-60G Pave Hawk. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts; DVIDSHub.net/)
The 2016 Invictus Games may have just begun, but the adaptive sports journey for many service members and veterans lasts a lifetime. Seminal events such as Invictus Games and DoD Warrior Games raise awareness of the overwhelmingly positive outcomes adaptive sports generate for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. What many people might not know is that DoD’s Military Adaptive Sports Program provides recovery and rehabilitation opportunities year-round, at camps and clinics and through daily reconditioning activities. Since 2011, wounded, ill and injured service members have been participating in adaptive sports and reconditioning activities as part of their holistic recovery and rehabilitation process.
Wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans qualified for the 2016 Invictus Games by participating in camps, clinics and trials held at locations throughout the United States and Europe. The team, made up of approximately 115 athletes from the military services, the Coast Guard, and the U.S. Special Operations Command, are participating in the 2016 Invictus Games, an international adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.
U.S. athletes are competing with more than 500 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans, representing 14 countries, in Paralympic-style events that include archery, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair racing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
DoD’s participation in the 2016 Invictus Games is the continuation of an ongoing effort to build and maintain an international coalition dedicated to developing effective programs and policies for the 21st century warrior.
The Invictus Games, hosted by Prince Harry of Wales, is an international adaptive sports competition inspired by the Prince’s visit to the 2013 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games. The Invictus Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and instill a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their nations.
For more information about the DoD’s Military Adaptive Sports Program and support of wounded, ill and injured service members, visit: www.warriorcare.mil