Cincinnati to host National Veterans Wheelchair Games

WLWT

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT) — This is the one week of the year Rory Cooper feels completely normal.

“There’s over 600 of us in wheelchairs. There’s normally just one or two of us in a crowd of people that can walk,” Cooper said.

This week, Cincinnati will host the 37th Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

Over 18 events are offered, from basketball and table tennis to bowling and archery.

“You name it, they’re going to do it this week in Cincinnati,” said chief of communications Todd Sledge.

The athletes train diligently for the largest wheelchair sports and rehabilitation program in the world.

“It helps us stay in shape,” Cooper said. “It’s something I train for all year long.”

And although Fountain Square serves as the starting point for many competitions, this one is about more than taking home gold medals.

“We usually meet them at their lowest points, after an injury or diagnosis,” added veteran and vice president of the Paralyzed Veterans of America David Zurfluh, who also stressed the importance of encouraging veterans.

And although they are overcoming obstacles, don’t expect these men and women to take it easy on each other, mentioned Sledge.

“You see them compete. They’re veterans, so they’re going to go after each other pretty hard. But when they’re done, they’re going to hug each other,” Sledge said.

For Cooper, the games send a strong statement.

“There’s a cost to freedom and a cost to sacrifice,” he said.

All of the information about the event, volunteer opportunities and locations can be found here.

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