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Northeast Passage Introduces Disabled Veterans to Paralympic Sport

By Keely Ames, Northeast Passage
February 25, 2009

On March 6 through March 9, 30 newly disabled United States service men and women will be traveling to the White Mountains to participate in a Paralympic Military Sports Camp.

The weekend-long event, co-hosted by UNH’s Northeast Passage and New England Disabled Sports at Loon Mountain, will introduce these individuals to alpine skiing, snowboarding, sled hockey and Nordic skiing. The goal is to provide a weekend of physical activity and opportunities to learn about Paralympic sport and competition.

New England Disabled Sports and Northeast Passage will partner with U.S. Paralympics to host this first-time event. New England Disabled Sports will provide alpine skiing and snowboarding instruction at their new facility at Loon Mountain in Lincoln. Northeast Passage will provide Nordic skiing instruction at the Jackson Touring Center in Jackson and sled hockey instruction at the Ham Arena in Conway. Both organizations have been recognized for their expertise in adaptive sporting instruction. All 30 participants will try each sport, rotating throughout the weekend.

“With 21 million physically disabled Americans, including thousands of military personnel who’ve been severely injured while on active duty, this is an important community need,” says Northeast Passage director Jill Gravink. 

“Empowering these service men and women to realize their full athletic potential is the main focus of this camp,” says Rob Mueller, managing director of New England Disabled Sports.  “Providing sporting instruction, and networking opportunities, to those who have sustained a disabling injury will aid them in creating a new focus.”

“It is critical for our injured service members to have the opportunity to be physically active in their communities as part of the rehabilitation process,” says Charlie Huebner, United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chief of Paralympics.  “There is an incredible healing power that comes from once again being active with your friends or family following a disabling injury. The USOC is pleased to partner with New England Disabled Sports and Northeast Passage to help our nation’s heroes return to living healthy, active lifestyles.”

For more information on Northeast Passage visit www.NEPassage.org

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