Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
VAMC employee competes in National Wheelchair Game
VAMC employee competes in National Wheelchair Games
Games provide fitness, camaraderie for Veterans.
The National Veterans Wheelchair Games is one of the largest athletic competitions of its kind. And most of the competitors sacrificed a lot to get there.
Since 1985, military service Veterans who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord injuries, amputations or certain neurological problems, have been competing in this annual sporting competition presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Competitors come from across the United States, Great Britain and Puerto Rico to participate in 18 different medal-awarding events and two exhibition events with athletes competing against their peers according to wheelchair sports experience and agility.
David Bradbury, Chief of Prosthetics & Sensory Aids Service at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, has been competing in the games for 10 years, including this year’s competition in Tampa, Fla.
Bradbury was joined by approximately 500 other athletes competing in tennis (as an exhibition sport), archery, swimming, weightlifting, basketball, quad rugby and more.
“The games are such a great opportunity for meeting other Veterans,” said Bradbury. “We often consider this our family vacation. Some bring their families and when we are all together, we are family.”
"It’s also a major opportunity to get out there and be involved in programs that you typically wouldn’t have the opportunity to do. The biggest factor for me is health and wellness throughout the year," said Bradbury.
The 2014 games will be held in Philadelphia, Penn.
Bradbury also said that another benefit of being a VA employee and going to these events is the opportunity to provide outreach to Veterans.