A Triangle-based nonprofit announced Monday that North Carolina will host the Valor Games Southeast, a three-day competition in adapted sports for wounded and injured veterans and active-duty service members. The contests will be held at the Atlantic Coast Conference universities in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.
About 100 former or current members of the armed forces will compete in the Games on May 21, 22 and 23. The Valor Games Southeast games will be the first in a series of four regional competitions nationwide that are aimed at linking wounded and injured veteran and active-duty military to their local communities.
Events including rowing, archery, cycling, air rifle and volleyball will be played in Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University, the Dean E. Smith Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in the Reynolds Coliseum area at N.C. State University.
Contestants can register at www.valor-games-southeast.bridge2sports.org/index.php/register.
The public can attend the games, and admission is free.
It is the first time that the Valor Games will be played outside of Chicago, where for the past two years, wounded and injured veterans and active-duty members competed in a series of sports in the Valor Games Midwest. This year, the competitions will expand to the Southeast, west and Southwest.
Following the Valor Games Southeast, the Valor Games Far West will be held June 11-13 in San Jose, Calif. The Valor Games Midwest Games will be held Aug. 12-14 in Chicago, and the Valor Games, in San Antonio, Tex., are set for Sept. 24-26.
Much of the funding for the Games is provided by U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee, through theU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Hosting the Valor Games Southeast is Bridge II Sports, a Durham nonprofit that provides opportunities for North Carolina children and adults with physical disabilities to play team and individual sports.
“Americans are so proud of our military veterans, and the Games give Bridge II Sports an opportunity to serve those who have served us on the battlefield,” said Ashley Thomas, executive director of Bridge II Sports. “We’re particularly proud because of North Carolina’s long history of supporting military members and military bases.”
Besides offering wounded and injured personnel the chance to learn or improve athletic skills, the aim of The Valor Games is to help integrate athletes into their local communities. Research has shown that injured personnel recover better and have fewer physical and emotional challenges when they build strong links to their communities.
Founded in 2007, Bridge II Sports was named the 2012 Paralympic Sports Club of the Year by the U.S. Paralympics.