Midwest Valor Games set for 3rd year

August 8, 2013 (CHICAGO)

This is the third year.

Two hundred veterans with disabilities are expected to participate in the three-day Valor Games, which start Monday. The purpose of these games is to give these individuals an opportunity to compete in adaptive sports.

The Midwest Valor Games include discus and shot put, cycling, archery, indoor rowing and power lifting.

"This is a chance for individuals to come out and try these different sports and try them in a competition setting where they have extra fire to compete against their fellow veterans," said Susan Katz, director of Paralympic sports at World Sports Chicago. "All of the participants in the Valor Games Midwest have some kind of physical or visual disability; some have post-traumatic stress disorder."

Alberto Velasco was a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps. He became disabled in a non-military-related car accident. This is his first year competing.

"I am going to be cycling; I am going to be doing powerlifting," he said. "I got more of the competitive energy going on, so it will be my first. And it's good to participate but hopefully come out at least very close to first."

"We have some participants with the Valor Games who have gone on to try higher-level competition, more advanced competition. I don't think we have anybody yet who is ready for the Paralympic games in Rio in 2016, but we are hoping by 2020," Katz said. "It's just not about sports. It's about the impacts on them emotionally and socially and being around some of their peers who have maybe already had some experiences with adaptive sports and had that life-changing time."

The Midwest Valor Games kick off at Soldier Field. Events will take place at different locations around the city. It's open to the public. http://www.worldsportchicago.org/programs/valor-games-midwest/

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