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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island

 

VA New England Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic

Mark Sanders, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran from Manomet, Mass., shows the black sea bass he just caught off of Point Judith, R.I., Thursday, July 21, 2016, during the VA New England's Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic.

Mark Sanders, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran from Manomet, Mass., shows the black sea bass he just caught off of Point Judith, R.I., Thursday, July 21, 2016, during the VA New England's Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic, hosted by the Providence VA Medical Center with the VA Boston Health Care System. Support for deep sea fishing was provided courtesy of the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Winfield Danielson.)

By By Winfield S. Danielson III, Public Affairs Officer, Providence VA Medical Center
Thursday, July 28, 2016

Approximately 50 disabled Veterans gathered in Rhode Island July 18 through 21, 2016, for the Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, a Department of Veterans Affairs special rehabilitation-related sporting event for Veterans enrolled in VA New England Health Care.

Dr. Susan MacKenzie, director of the Providence VA Medical Center, hosted the event, which was organized by the VA Boston Health Care System.

"The Summer Sports Clinic can be a life-changing event for both the Veteran participants and the volunteers," said MacKenzie. "The clinic helps new participants change their focus from activities they perhaps thought they couldn't do anymore, to the wide range of things they can do with the right equipment and a willingness to learn, and builds camaraderie as more experienced participants share the challenges they've overcome."

Pauline Nadeau, a 25-year U.S. Air Force Veteran from Hampton, N.H., shoots a wide grin at volunteer Dean Riley from Tasmania, Australia, as they water ski on Johnson's Pond in Coventry, R.I., Tuesday, July 19, 2016, during the VA New England's Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic.

Pauline Nadeau, a 25-year U.S. Air Force Veteran from Hampton, N.H., shoots a wide grin at volunteer Dean Riley from Tasmania, Australia, as they water ski on Johnson's Pond in Coventry, R.I., Tuesday, July 19, 2016, during the VA New England's Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic, hosted by the Providence VA Medical Center with the VA Boston Health Care System. Support for water skiing was provided courtesy of LOF Adaptive Skiers, from Sandy Hook, Conn. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Winfield Danielson.)

Participants' in the four-day clinic had conditions that included orthopedic amputations, traumatic brain injuries, burn injuries, psychological trauma, certain neurological conditions, spinal cord injuries and visual impairments.

"It's overwhelming all they do for us," said Pauline Nadeau, a 25-year U.S. Air Force Veteran from Hampton, N.H., who has a degenerative joint condition and is participating in the event for the fourth year. "It's like a family -- for both the Veterans and the volunteers. Every time an event like this comes up, I apply for it. It gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and workout every day."

Thomas Ferland, a U.S. Navy Veteran from Oakville, Conn., paddles a kayak near Fort Adams State Park, Newport, R.I., July 20, 2016, during the VA New England's Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic.

Thomas Ferland, a U.S. Navy Veteran from Oakville, Conn., paddles a kayak near Fort Adams State Park, Newport, R.I., July 20, 2016, during the VA New England's Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic, hosted by the Providence VA Medical Center with the VA Boston Health Care System. Support for kayaking was provided by the New England Handicapped Sports Association. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Kimberly DiDonato.)

Events included adaptive golf, kayaking, sailing, water skiing, cycling and deep sea fishing.

"I do a lot of hand cycling on my own, but this event gives me an opportunity to try new bikes and learn to get better," said Paul Nyerick, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran of Vietnam from Granby, Conn., who has multiple sclerosis and is participating in his seventh Adaptive Summer Sports Clinic. "There is a learning curve, but being disabled doesn't mean much once you know what you can do."

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