Since 1987, there have been miracles on the mountains of Colorado during the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. Co-hosted by DAV and the VA, this event gives hundreds of severely ill and injured veterans the opportunity to challenge their abilities and change the course of their lives.
This year, The Today Show experienced this life-changing event first-hand. The video crew shadowed the participant athletes through a variety of adaptive sports and activities including skiing, scuba diving, rock climbing and sled hockey.
The talk show’s anchors were in awe as they watched Navy veteran Laurie Wood reclaim her spirit through sled hockey after a spinal cord injury changed her life in the blink of an eye.
“It sounds cliché, but adaptive sports saved my life,” said Wood, a first-time participant. “I really thought I’d never be able to play hockey or be active again. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back on the ice.”
Army sergeant Kristian “Deno” Cedeño, who lost his right leg to an IED while deployed in Afghanistan, returned to the clinic for a second time after receiving 2013’s DAV Freedom Award, an honor given to the participant who best epitomizes the spirit of the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic and refuses to give up.
“I was given a second chance. So why slow down?” Cedeño said. “I owe it to the men and women on my left and right who gave me strength when I didn’t have it. So how dare I put that to waste?”
Cedeño’s fighting spirit was evident in every one of the participants at the 28th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. The Today Show video crew was able to capture examples of that determination and dedication to moving forward instead of turning back.
To hear more about Wood and Cedeño’s experiences at the 28th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, watch the below video.
Find out how you can get involved with the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic by visiting: http://www.wintersportsclinic.org.