By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2011 – The fourth-annual National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic that drew 100 injured military veterans, including three active-duty Marines, concludes today in San Diego.
This year’s clinic began Sept. 18. The yearly clinics, sponsored primarily by the Veterans Affairs Department, feature workshops designed to assist injured veterans to develop sports skills, officials said.
Attendees participated in adaptive kayaking, sailing, track and field, cycling, and surfing.
For many participants, the clinic is their first exposure to the therapeutic value of adaptive sports and recreational activities, officials said.
“The Summer Sports Clinic is proof of VA’s commitment to improve the quality of life for veterans with disabilities,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said. “The clinic helps our most severely injured veterans gain physical and mental confidence.”
This year’s group of veterans attending the clinic had sustained injuries such as amputations, traumatic brain injuries, burns, psychological trauma, certain neurological conditions, visual impairments and spinal cord injuries.
At the outset of the clinic, VA’s undersecretary for health, Dr. Robert Petzel, said participants would be surrounded by fellow veterans who share common bonds though their service.
“The clinic helps wounded veterans return to active lifestyles through physical and mental rehabilitation,” Petzel added.
The VA’s San Diego Healthcare System has hosted the clinic since 2008. Other clinic sponsors this year include its founders, Help Hospitalized Veterans and the Veterans Canteen Service, as well as San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina, Cisco Systems Inc., Health Net, Booz Allen Hamilton and Challenged America.
The 2012 National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic is scheduled to be held in San Diego from Sept. 16 to 21.