July 7th, 2010

Disabled Vets Compete in National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Nat'l Veterans Wheelchair Games Air Rifle MatchThe 30th National Veterans Wheelchair Games commenced this week in Denver, Colorado. The largest annual wheelchair sports competition in the world, this event offers 17 different sports to veterans who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord injuries, amputations and neurological diseases. One of the popular events is the Air Rifle competition, which has attracted ten relays of competitors, all of whom are wounded or disabled military veterans.

With the help of family, friends, and volunteers, they unpack their guns, sight in their rifles, and shoot three rounds of twenty shots in thirty minutes. The competitors display a wide array of emotions — some are intense, some are smiling, and some are satisfied with the mere act of competing.

The stories are as diverse as those who are shooting: An Army ranger injured post-retirement, an officer with multiple sclerosis, an enlisted man wounded in combat. They come from California, from Ohio, from Florida and Texas. “We’ve seen a wonderful change in our guys,” said a group leader from California. “They find a sport in which they can flourish and their smiles are contagious.”

Photos and story by Lars Dalseide, courtesy NRA Blog.

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