Orlando, Florida has been chosen to host the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, officials announced Friday. The games will be held between July 29 and August 4, 2018. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games are the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world. The Games serve as a rehabilitation and sports program for veterans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, amputations and other neurological injuries.
The Orlando V.A. Medical Center and Central Florida Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America teamed up to make this event a reality. The games will not only help the veterans that participate, it is also estimated that the games will have a $4 million economic impact on Orlando and the surrounding area. It is expected to bring 600 athletes and 4,000 volunteers to the city to participate in the games.
Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, is on of many city officials said to be thrilled that the Veterans Wheelchair Games are coming to town.
“Not only is Orlando quickly becoming the nation’s premier sporting event destination, we’re also a veteran-friendly community that values the men and women who have served our country,” he said. “We’re ready to support these heroes when they compete in Orlando.”
The games will include 19 sports. Swimming, table tennis, weightlifting, archery, basketball, and even a motorized wheelchair rally and track and field events will be included, to name just a few.
Orlando V.A. Medical Center Director Tim Liezert hopes that participants and spectators don’t lose sight of the true purpose of the games while discussing the positive economic impact they will have.
“We hope to provide an introduction for veterans to the power that sports can have in healing,” he said. “We are not defined by our physical or mental limitations. All it takes is the courage to make that first effort.”