The athletes competing for Team USA in the Invictus Games didn’t wake up and decide to compete against other nations. Many have been training for years and have competed in several national events already.

So how does an adaptive sport Veteran athlete begin their journey to the Invictus Games? Start training with VA.

“I attended the Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa, my first event with the VA and that’s how I got started in air rifle and pistol,” said Roosevelt “RJ” Anderson Jr .

RJ was a member of the U.S. Army 160th Special Operations Regiment from 2008-2014 and now receives care from the Hines Spinal Cord Injury Center in Chicago, Illinois. That’s where he began his training.

RJ says, “Adaptive sports was very important with my recovery. I tried everything to see what I love, so try it all. You never know what you might be good at and fall in love with.”

So what is RJ good at? Wheelchair track events. He medaled silver in the 100m and bronze in the 200m.

RJ fist bumps a young fan at the Invictus Games.

RJ fist bumps a young fan at the Invictus Games.

To begin training, Veterans need to speak with recreational therapists at their local VA medical facilities. The adaptive and recreational therapists will help Veterans to develop a training plan and will provide the adaptive equipment required.

VA hosts several adaptive sport events around the nation every year, including:

National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic

The Summer Sports Clinic offers adventure sports and recreational activities such as sailing, surfing, track and field events, kayaking and cycling (hand and tandem), to those who were recently injured.

Valor Games

The Valor Games brings together disabled veterans and wounded, ill or injured service members and engages them in three days of Paralympic sport competition.

National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Co-Presented by VA and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games is a rehabilitation and wheelchair sports program empowering Veterans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, amputations and other neurological injuries to live more active and healthy lives through wheelchair sports and recreation.

National Disabled Winter Sports Clinic

The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic is a world-leader in adaptive winter sports instruction for U.S. military Veterans and active duty servicemen and women with disabilities.

To help Veterans continue their rehabilitation in-between events, VA has provided over $47.3 Million in adaptive sport grants to national and community programs across the country. Find one near you on the VA active calendar.

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2 Comments

  1. T.E. Origer May 13, 2016 at 10:38 am

    How about treadmills for veterans, or endless pools, or stationary bikes etc. The cost of one piece of equipment has to be offset by dollars saved in unnecessary care and treatment at VA hospitals and clinics. It is often difficult, embarrassing, or some other from of hardship for disabled veterans to get out to facilities.

  2. Pastor VeRita D. Quinn May 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    RJ is such an inspiration to all who know him. He has never stopped, and never given up. I’m sure there may have been times he wanted to, but we never saw it! We see a strong, determined, and victorious young man, fulfilling the purpose and plan of God for and in his life. We love, support, encourage, and applaud RJ in his journey. To God be the glory, for the things He’s done, is doing, and will do for RJ!
    Pastor VeRita D. Quinn

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