FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The U.S. Olympic Committee hosted nearly 50 active duty and retired military men and women with physical injuries at a Paralympic Military Sports Camp at Fort Sam Houston, Sept. 16 to19.
The camps introduce Paralympic sport to military men and women with physical injuries. All sport clinics are conducted at an introductory level. If participants have an interest in competing in a particular event, U.S. Paralympics will connect them with a program in their community so they can begin to train.
Co-hosted by FSH Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation the event offered participants an opportunity to recognize their ability to return to living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Paralympics differs from the Special Olympics. Paralympic Games are held every four years to coincide with the Olympic Games. Paralympic athletes compete along similar guidelines as their Olympic counterparts and medals are awarded to winners in each division.
Sports offered during the event included sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, strength and conditioning, equestrian, archery, track and field, indoor rowing and wheelchair tennis. All sport clinics were led by Paralympic athletes and coaches.
The camp began with a special welcome by Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw, commander FSH and Army Medical Department Center and School, at the opening reception Sept. 15 at the Sam Houston Club.
Activities kicked off Sept. 16 with a welcome by U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. Mary Garr, and were held at the Jimmy Brought Fitness Center, Salado Park and the Equestrian Center.
Participants traveled to Austin Sept. 18, so they could enjoy an on-water rowing event provided by Paralympic Sport Austin - a program of the Texas Rowing Center.
"Doctors can patch up and heal our bodies, but this program, and having the opportunity to be at this camp - this heals our hearts," said camp participant Al Marconi.
In addition to sports activities, service members were treated to outings off-post including a visit to the San Antonio USO and a dinner boat cruise at the Riverwalk.
"The USOC Paralympic Military Program isn't just about exposing service members to sport opportunities during a three-day camp and then sending them home to wonder what's next," said John Register, U.S. Paralympics Associate Director of Community and Military Programs.
"One of our primary purposes is to also connect the participants with ongoing sports programs in their communities so they can continue to be physically active on a regular basis."
(Source: Paralympic Division, U.S. Olympic Committee News Release)