The Texas Woman’s University kinesiology department is giving wounded and injured veterans the opportunity to try out rock climbing, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair soccer.
The open house sports night from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday in Pioneer Hall is part of a new project called Injured Veterans Entering Sport Training (INVEST).
“We want to make it family-oriented,” said Ron Davis, a TWU professor in the Department of Kinesiology.
Families are encouraged to participate alongside the veterans.
Adapted physical activity, or disability sport, gives veterans a way to be competitive again, Davis said, adding that it helps build confidence and self-awareness.
“What we say around here is ‘sport is sport,’” Davis said.
TWU graduate students will facilitate the sports.
The project, which offers activity and sports programs for veterans and community members with disabilities, is being funded by a $25,000 grant from the Olympic Opportunity Fund.
“The grant is to help wounded warriors to reintegrate into society,” he said.
Davis wants INVEST to be an entry level of that by giving the veterans a glimpse of sports they could participate in.
It wouldn’t be a regular team, Davis said, but it would offer them opportunities to participate in different sports and activities.
Sports are a way to help veterans rehabilitate, Davis said.
He said he would especially like to reach out to female veterans and provide them an opportunity.
Through the programs offered by INVEST, wounded and injured veterans would have the opportunity to participate in the sports offered during the open house as well as wheelchair tennis. The project also hopes to offer swimming, weight training and cardio and goalball for the blind and visually impaired.
Using the grant, the department also plans to offer special weekends for the veterans to participate in activities and sports along with their families, Davis said.
Davis has a background in adaptive sports. He was coach of the wheelchair soccer team in Fort Worth while he was pursuing his doctorate at TWU in the 1980s.
He’s currently the state coordinator of the American Association of Adapted Sports.
Davis and the TWU graduate students want to show veterans another way to continue.
“It pulls them forward,” he said.
While the open house and other programs offered through the project are targeted at soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, all wounded and injured veterans are invited to participate, Davis said.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .