For more than 25 years, DAV and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have co-hosted the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, a physical rehabilitation program, held in the mountains of Snowmass, Colorado.
This program has transformed the lives of 7,744 of America’s most severely injured and ill veterans since its inception. This unique program, often referred to as “Miracles on a Mountainside,” helps severely injured veterans to rebuild confidence and regain balance in their lives.
In 2013, 343 veterans from across the nation with multiple amputations, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, severe neurological issues, and even total blindness participated in the clinic to develop winter sports skills, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow veterans and take part in a variety of workshops and educational sessions.
The event promotes rehabilitation and restoration by coaching and encouraging veterans with severe injuries to conquer adaptive skiing, rock climbing, scuba diving, kayaking, and other sports, and shows them by example they are not barred from recreational activities.
“This event is truly spectacular,” said Director of Voluntary Services Ron Minter. “It’s amazing to see these veterans’ lives dramatically change for the better in real-time as we conduct this clinic. It’s nothing short of awe inspiring.”
National Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski said the clinic is a dramatic tool to positively affect veterans and their families.
“I’ve personally seen veterans, some with severe injuries, start the process of taking their lives back at this clinic,” he said. “It’s a very empowering experience for our nation’s veterans and I’m grateful DAV, our partners at VA and our generous corporate sponsors make it possible.”
Veterans from all eras attend the clinic, including many who were injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. Often, this seminal event offers veterans their very first experience in winter sports and gives them motivation to overcome any perceived limitations which enhances their quality of life and rehabilitative journey.
More information on the clinic can be found at http://miracles.dav.org/Page1.html.