U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Begich (D-AK) today introduced legislation to extend the authorization for the U.S. Paralympic Integrated Adaptive Sports Program through 2018. Current authorization for the program expires in 2013.
"The U.S. Paralympic Integrated Adaptive Sports Program is a great program that serves wounded warriors throughout the United States. Physical activity offers these injured members of the Armed Forces and veterans additional opportunities for rehabilitation for both physical and mental health. Harnessing the expertise of the United States Olympic Committee to work with local programs is a common sense strategy to help our veterans improve their quality of life," Boozman said.
"We owe our service men and women a great debt for their sacrifices, especially those injured or wounded in battle. This legislation will extend authorization for the U.S. Paralympic Integrated Adaptive Sports Program to partner with organizations across the country and Alaska to provide opportunities to our wounded warriors to engage and compete in physical activity. The program has helped improve the quality of life for thousands and I'm proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill which is sure to have a positive impact on Alaska's community of veterans," Begich said.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) is the sponsor of companion legislation, H.R. 2345, in the House of Representatives.
"We can show our support and gratitude by extending this important program for our wounded warriors," Stutzman said. "Today, thousands of disabled veterans are involved in adaptive sports. These men and women are competitive and driven to succeed. I'm honored to help them along the way."
With more than 40 thousand members of our Armed Forces having been injured since 2003, the U.S. Paralympic Integrated Adaptive Sports Program partners with local organizations to develop programs and skills that meet the needs of our wounded warriors. Since 2008 more than 12 thousand injured servicemembers have been introduced to physical activity through sports program partnerships.
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is uniquely qualified to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase interest and access of wounded warriors in Paralympic sports programs for veterans and injured servicemembers. The USOC has worked to further develop and implement adaptive sports programs for disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces. This physical activity has provided rehabilitation services to and made a positive impact on the lives of our disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces.