An Ames man was in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to testify before a congressional panel about his work with disabled veterans. Michael Boone is director of Adaptive Sports Iowa. He told members of a House subcommittee on Veterans Affairs that a “significant stumbling block” for his organization is finding newly disabled veterans.
“When a disabled soldier returns home from rehab, there’s currently no effective way for us to inform them of our programming opportunities,” Boone said. He suggested that soldiers be informed of adaptive sports programs in their state as they return home from service.
“I mean, just a single piece of paper saying what adaptive sports programs are available, where they’re at and how to contact them. You don’t need to do anything beyond that,” Boone suggested. “Right now, for us to find out who’s being released and who’s coming home…that information is just not available.”
Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo serves on the subcommittee. He says the U.S. Paralympics and the Department of Veterans Affairs can do a better job of promoting adaptive sports programs, but disabled soldiers aren’t always thinking about those opportunities when they’re released from service.
“They’re getting bombarded with information when they’re being sent back home and a lot of times, they just want to get home and be with their families. It’s later on in the process when they’re thinking about their rehabilitation or what’s available that they need that information and it’s often not available to them,” Braley said.
Adaptive Sports Iowa was established in March of this year with a grant from United States Paralympics and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A YouTube video of the hearing can be seen here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-PH8BtixPc>