Adaptive Sports Camp Advances Ability for Injured Veterans - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on August 10, 2009

RIC Adaptive Sports Camp Succeeds in Advancing Ability for Military Veterans

Camp Activities Introduce Sports and Fuels Nation's Paralympic Hopes

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the leading physical medicine and rehabilitation hospital in the country, held its Second Annual Military Adaptive Sports Camp Aug. 2-9, 2009, to present the opportunity to learn Paralympic sports to U.S. veterans who acquired disabling injuries. The event, organized through The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Sports Program, received national media coverage in a Sunday feature in the Washington Post and on Chicago’s WGN Evening News.

Gov. Pat Quinn

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn addresses veterans
participating in RIC's Military Adaptive

RIC is committed extending its world-class clinical rehabilitation care and research discoveries to help guide our nation's most deserving citizens in their journeys to achieve their individual and ultimate outcomes – being able to do or participate in the community in a way that is most meaningful to them. RIC's innovative sports programming, and its adaptive sports camp in particular, serve as powerful tools in permitting patients to realize their potential and discover ability. Equally as important, these programs fuel our nation's cache of athletes to compete in future Paralympic Games, which is likely the most extraordinary demonstration of ability in the world.

Nearly 40 U.S. veterans with severe injuries participated in the camp, which offered 15 different sports clinics including judo, bocce, swimming, wheelchair basketball, sit volleyball and sailing. The camp's awards ceremony and reception was attended by a number of local and state dignitaries demonstrating their support for RIC and our nation's veterans, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn; Illinois Director of Veterans Affairs Dan Grant; 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly; and Kambium Buckner, a legislative aide from Senator Dick Durbin's office.

"It is our duty to take care of veterans, who have answered the call to duty and bravely defended our country," said Governor Quinn. "I salute the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for working to improve the lives of our veterans and service members through their Military Adaptive Sports Camp, which provides opportunities for our men and women in uniform to experience Paralympic sports."

RIC's camp, supported by grants from U.S. Paralympics and Wounded Heroes Foundation, had twice as many participants than last year's camp. Additionally, it was divided into two phases to allow veterans with similar conditions to participate together in Paralympic sports designed to fit with their specific conditions. Phase I was designed for those with visual impairment, traumatic brain injury and other neurological conditions. Phase II was designed for veterans with spinal cord injury and amputation.

RIC maintains a strong partnership with the State of Illinois for which RIC developed a landmark TBI screening tool, the first state in the nation to establish a statewide TBI program offering screenings for all National Guard members returning from combat, introduced in 2007. The tool is designed to determine signs and symptoms of mild TBI or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and deliver quality care to the service members in need quicker.

Additionally, RIC conducts several groundbreaking research programs with funding from the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. Most notably, RIC's Center for Bionic Medicine is working to develop advanced prosthetic control systems.

RIC remains committed to providing the best possible rehabilitation care and services to injured U.S. service men and women with world-class rehabilitation medicine created through science and innovative research discoveries.

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is making a difference in the world for people with disabilities. RIC provides world-class care to patients from around the globe for a range of conditions from acute brain and spinal cord injury to chronic arthritis, pain and sports injuries. RIC, founded in 1954, has been designated the "#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America" by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991 and attributes its leading standard of care in part to its innovative research and discovery, particularly in the areas of bionic medicine, robotics, neural regeneration, pain care and better outcomes. RIC operates its 165-bed, flagship hospital in downtown Chicago , as well as a network of 30 sites of care located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs that provide additional inpatient care, day rehabilitation and outpatient services. RIC also maintains strategic alliances with leading healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois and Indiana.