Winter Sports Clinic helps disabled veterans overcome their challenges

Jake Hughes
March 23, 2018 - 10:44 am

(Image Courtesy of Dreamstime)

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Losing a limb or otherwise becoming disabled is a life-changing event. Suddenly, you are no longer able to do things like you used to and you think you can't participate in sports ever again. The Disabled American Veterans and the Department of Veteran Affairs are making sure vets know that isn't the case.

For more than three decades, the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic has helped many of our nation’s most profoundly disabled veterans overcome obstacles and challenge their perceived limitations. The five-day event is held every year near Aspen, CO, and includes events such as Nordic and downhill skiing, sled hockey, rock climbing, scuba diving, paddling and a wide variety of other sports and workshops. Over 400 veterans are scheduled to attend this year, ranging in age from 23 to 92.

Mick Doto was injured in Iraq, and says the clinic has helped him realize what he is capable of. "It's opened me up to a lot of physical outlets that I didn't think I could do, or didn't have interest in." He says he has seen amazing things, like blind men skiing, and amputees playing hockey. Participating in the clinic’s extreme outdoor adventures, veterans will learn to overcome perceived limitations and experience life to the fullest. For some disabled veterans, it can be hard to accept the help. "For whatever reason, maybe it's pride, it's kind of hard to get them to take that first step. But once they do, it starts them down a very positive path."

There is also a Summer Sports Clinic, which includes events like sailing, surfing, track and field events, kayaking and cycling. For more information, visit the Winter Sports Clinic website.