CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) and Chicago Park District hosted the first “Veterans’ Adaptive Activities Day” at Northerly Island in Chicago today. The event gave Veterans with disabilities the opportunity to try a wide variety of sports equipment with adaptive fitness specialists from across the region.
“Many of our service members leave for their tour of duty in the best shape of their lives and some return as Veterans with a debilitating injury. I know from first hand experience that the opportunity to exercise again can provide hope and health on a variety of levels,” IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth said. We hope that this event will introduce Veterans to various adaptive activities such sailing, kayaking, handcycling, golf, tennis, and wheelchair basketball, so they know you can still play your favorite sport even after you’re injured. ”
“This event is a perfect example of our commitment to providing quality recreational opportunities and resources for all Chicagoans,” said Timothy Mitchell, General Superintendent of the Chicago Park District. “We are excited to participate in this inaugural event.”
“Veterans Adaptive Activities Day” was held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and included games, food, music, a special speaking program at noon, and on-going adaptive activities for Veterans and their families. Throughout the day, Veterans enjoyed handcycling, fishing, kayaking, golf, tennis, table games, bocce ball, quad rugby, sailing, rowing, wheelchair basketball, football, softball, and other adaptive sports equipment.
Organizations from across the region participated in today’s event including: Adaptive Adventures, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Midwest Wheelchair Sport & Social Club, Schwab Rehabilitation Center, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports, National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project, WS&S Medical, Paralyzed Veterans of America, U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Gus Zografopoulos, Amputee Coalition of America, Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, Disabled American Veterans, BulletBall Games, Project Mobility, Chicago Indoor Rowing, and Diveheart’s Military Wounded.
“With so many younger Veterans returning from the war with injuries, we want to give them the opportunity to remain active. Hopefully today’s event will show them that there are unique opportunities out there to still remain healthy and active despite their disability,” added Director Tammy Duckworth.