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The 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games will be held June 25-30 in Richmond, Va.
The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) present the games each year. They are a multi-event sports rehabilitation program open to U.S. military veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, amputations or certain neurological problems, and who receive care at VA medical facilities or military treatment centers.
Sports are important in the therapy used to treat many disabilities. For many injured veterans, the games provide their first exposure to wheelchair athletics. VA is a recognized leader in rehabilitative and recreational therapies, and operates more than 1,400 sites of care, including 152 medical centers.
The first National Veterans Wheelchair Games was held in 1981, the "International Year of Disabled Persons," at the VA Medical Center in Richmond, Va. That year, 74 Veterans from 14 states competed in sports ranging from table tennis and billiards, to swimming and weightlifting. 2012 marks the first time the event has returned to its birthplace in Richmond.
Veterans will compete in 17 different sports, including air guns, archery, basketball, bowling, field, handcycling, nine-ball, a motorized wheelchair relay, power soccer, quad rugby, softball, swimming, table tennis, track and field, trapshooting, weightlifting and wheelchair slalom. For the third year, stand-up events will be held in archery and table tennis for athletes who have amputations and choose to compete using prosthetic devices instead of their wheelchairs.
The Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond and the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America are hosting the 2012 Games. Veterans competing in the games come from nearly every state, as well as Puerto Rico and Great Britain.
For more information about the games or to volunteer during the week, visit www.wheelchairgames.va.gov.