Valor Games Midwest set for Chicago

August 9, 2012 11:51:08 AM PDT
Next week, the second annual Valor Games Midwest will kick off at Soldier Field.

It is a three-day competition for veterans with disabilities hosted by World Sport Chicago in partnership with the U.S. Paralympics, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Chicago Park District.

One hundred sixty-five veterans with disabilities will participate in six different sporting events ? cycling, rowing, archery, power lifting, shot putting and discus.

The goal is to promote active and healthy lifestyles and also develop skills to try out for the U.S. Paralympics team.

' I have glaucoma and it's genetic, so over the years it's just started getting worse and a little bit more worse," said Howard Wilson, who served in the Marines and is legally blind.

Wilson participated last year with cycling, power lifing and rowing. This year it's shot put, rowing and archery.

"Shotput, my personal best is... somewhere in between seven and eight meters. I'm relatively new to that so I'm just learning some of the technique," he said.

Janine Spears was among the first women in the Army special forces unit. She became disabled in a parachuting accident at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

"I was jumping to a tree about 80 feet, pine tree, and had to be cut from my parachute, and I fell through the canopy and landed on my feet," she said. "The injuries that I sustained got worse over time."

She learned about sporting events for people with disabilities at the Jesse Brown VA Hospital.

"I particularly have an interest in, for years... archery and rowing," Spears said.

This is her first time training for the events.

"It's been wonderful," she said.

'All the competitions are divided by disability classification, and many medals are awarded," said World Sport Chicago staffer Jason Eby said.

"The Valor Games means to me an opportunity to be physical again," said Spears,

Valor Games Midwest starts Monday. The event will continue for two more days at two different locations. Spectators are welcome. For more information go to http://www.worldsportchicago.org/


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