This week, nearly 400 Veterans will hit the slopes for the 26th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, taking place in Snowmass Village, Colo., March 25 - 30.
"The courage and commitment displayed by each Veteran who confronts the challenge to learn new skills through this clinic is remarkable," said Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who spoke at the opening of the event. "VA has been a leader in recreational rehabilitation for over a quarter-century because we are committed to serving Veterans and providing them with the care and benefits they have earned."
The Clinic began with a simple idea, that skiing and outdoor recreation can advance physical and mental healing for Veterans with disabilities.
Co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Clinic instructs Veterans with disabilities in adaptive Alpine and Nordic skiing, and introduces them to a number of other recreational activities such as rock climbing, scuba diving, snowmobiling, curling and sled hockey. A number of informational classes are also provided to help Veterans cope with their disabilities.
Embracing the motto "Miracles on a Mountainside," the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic demonstrates how the lives of Veterans with disabilities can be changed forever when they discover the obstacles they can overcome.
"DAV is honored to team up with the VA to make this clinic possible," said DAV National Commander Donald L. Samuels. "This winter sports clinic is another way DAV is fulfilling our promise to the men and women who serve."
The Clinic is an annual rehabilitation program open to U.S. military Veterans with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological problems and other disabilities who receive care at a VA medical facility or military treatment center. It is the largest adaptive event of its kind in the world.
This year's Clinic will feature a record number of participants, including many who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Daily photos and "dispatches from the mountain" will be posted each day of the event on www.wintersportsclinic.va.gov, and on VA's social media outlets found at www.va.gov.
VA is a recognized leader in rehabilitative and recreational therapies, and operates more than 1,400 sites of care, including 153 medical centers. DAV is a non-profit, congressionally chartered Veterans service organization with a membership of more than one million combat- disabled Veterans.