One of the most successful and innovative programs for the rehabilitation of disabled veterans is the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. Held in Snowmass, Colorado, this year, the clinic is sponsored annually by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
The largest program of its kind in the world, the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic aims to improve the physical and emotional health of soldiers with significant disabilities, such as neurological disorders, amputations, spinal cord injuries, or visual impairments. The ultimate goal of the program is to provide injured service members with stimulating and meaningful physical and mental challenges. This, in turn, can boost their self-esteem and empower them to take control of their lives in productive ways.
In the nearly 30 years since the clinic was established, it has engaged service members in a wide variety of sports, from alpine skiing to volleyball, as well as other activities such as harmonica instruction and fly fishing.
Logistically, the massive annual effort involves coordinating the schedules and accommodations of hundreds of participants in wintertime conditions. Despite the complexity of the clinic, the event’s dedicated staff and volunteers make it work year after year. Their effort is well worth it to show our appreciation for returning service members who have sacrificed so much.