The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awarded $14.8 million in grants for adaptive sports programs benefitting Veterans with disabilities and disabled members of the Armed Forces at the end of September.
Of the total, $1.5 million is being used to support organizations that offer equine-assisted therapy to support mental health.
“Adaptive sports help Veterans thrive both physically and mentally as they challenge their inner strength and open pathways to community integration,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “We are honored to partner with over 120 organizations dedicated to providing adaptive sports and equine-assisted activities to help Veterans discover what’s next, not just in sports, but also in life.”
VA awarded 126 grants to national, regional and community programs, which will reach about 11,000 Veterans and service members from every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
VA awarded the grants to Veterans Service Organizations; city and regional municipalities; and other community groups to provide a wide range of adaptive sports opportunities. The grants will also benefit national governing bodies which prepare high level athletes for Paralympic competition.
Grant recipients may use the funds for planning, developing, managing and implementing adaptive sports programs. In addition to equine therapy, the grants will support well-known adaptive sports such as cycling, kayaking and archery to less traditional sports like hiking, hunting and paragliding.