San Diego’s Challenged America therapeutic sailing program has a long history of healing veterans, both recently injured from combat and those acquiring a disability from other causes. And at this year’s 4th National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, September 18 to 23, from San Diego’s Marriott Marquis Hotel & Marina, 130 recently injured veterans will experience the healing powers of the ocean as they sail with Challenged America in San Diego’s Big Bay.
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) newest national program, the Summer Sports Clinic (SSC) promotes rehabilitation of body and spirit by teaching summer sporting activities to veterans with significant physical or psychological impairments. The Clinic offers such sports as sailing, surfing, kayaking, track and field and cycling to these veterans who are newly injured from amputation, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), blindness, spinal cord injuries or disease, and other neurological disorders, all benefiting from the therapeutic environment offered at the Clinic.
“When we first proposed a Summer Sports Clinic to the VA in 1996, those involved with VA sports therapy excitedly endorsed it. But I knew we then needed to convince those in Washington, DC, that it was a valuable asset, and complimented the already successful Winter Sports Clinic held each year in Colorado,” says Urban Miyares, blinded Vietnam veteran and co-founder of the Challenged America program. “It took years before Washington, DC, agreed. After all, Challenged America has been providing successful water-sports activities for therapeutic purposes to severely and catastrophically disabled veterans for more than 30 years , and today’s VA Summer Sports Clinic is but an extension of an already successful San Diego-based charitable program matching the VA’s goals.”
The week-long event, based from the Marriott Marquis, will attract more than 400 people, to include 130 recently injured veterans, their families, personnel and officials from the VA,, political figures and others from local and federal agencies, celebrities, sponsors, and volunteers, most coming from around the nation. All with be participating in or watching the many sporting venues, such as sailing on San Diego’s Big Bay in Challenged America’s fleet of two-person, 16-foot (adaptive) sailboats, and aboard Sail USA-11’s America’s Cup yacht; kayaking on Mission Bay; surfing at La Jolla Shores; cycling and rock climbing (wall) on Coronado; and experience track and field at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.
“It’s going to be a busy week of introducing these veterans and their loved ones to sporting activities they should be able to participate in, when they return home. After all, sports is a tremendous rehabilitative activity that has proven to be key to heal one’s body and mind. Challenged America was started in 1978 by disabled veterans as a self-directed therapeutic program. And today, most of Challenged America’s participants and volunteers are veterans, many having combat-experience and disabilities. The VA’s Summer Sports Clinic and Challenged America is a prime example of ‘veterans helping and healing with fellow veterans’,” says Miyares.
Founded in 1978 by San Diego disabled veterans, Challenged America is a year-round, therapeutic (adaptive) sailing program for disabled veterans, youth and adults with disabilities, based at Shelter Island, San Diego. Hundreds from around the nation and the world sail with the volunteer-driven, charitable, program.
For additional information, contact
Urban Miyares, Challenged America
2240 Shelter Island Drive, Suite 108
San Diego, CA 92106
or visit ChallengedAmerica.org.