oday, U.S. Representative Jay Inslee (WA-01) voted to pass into law H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which included an amendment offered by Rep. Inslee that would help active duty wounded warriors by providing them with adaptive recreational equipment, which can play a powerful role in their rehabilitative process. The bill passed by a vote of 283-136.
"When a soldier is severely wounded, they don't lose their desire to compete or be active," said Rep. Inslee. "Right now, we are not doing enough for our wounded warriors who remain on active duty. 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."
At this time, service-disabled veterans may receive adaptive recreation equipment such as monoskis and sport wheelchairs through the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the wounded warriors who remain on active duty, however, access to the rehabilitative equipment that can get them outdoors and active is not available through TRICARE and accessing it is difficult. This amendment would correct this benefits gap and authorize the Secretary of Defense to provide wounded warriors who remain on active duty the same recreational equipment that their retired comrades receive through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"All soldiers want to compete," said Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Dudek, a wounded warrior who long served as the commanding officer of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Joint Base Lewis McChord, in Tacoma, Washington. "Having access to the right adaptive equipments extends my ability to challenge myself and others around me. Being disabled or limited in physical ability should not be an excuse to quit being an athlete. Challenging myself everyday transfers over to so many other aspects of my life and it just keeps getting better."