Sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the 2nd National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic for recently injured veterans will be held in San Diego, Sept. 20 – 25, 2009, at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina, with San Diego’s Challenged America program providing the adaptive sailing instruction along with the SailUSA11.com America’s Cup yacht both providing the sailing experience every day of the week-long event to the veterans and their families on San Diego’s Big Bay.

"Each year the VA’s Summer Sports Clinic has special meaning to us," said Urban Miyares, co-founder of Challenged America and blinded Vietnam veteran.  "Ever since Challenged America first began in 1978 by disabled veterans to introduce sailing to other vets, now with the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic a reality, it feels like we’ve accomplished yet another mission.  It truly is a cherished time for us when those of us who are veterans and combat-disabled vets can give back to our brothers and sisters who have followed us in service and combat.  We definitely can relate and share at this event, and the public can directly get involved and be part of the rehabilitation and healing process too.  Just come down to the dock and cheer the troops, or call us to find out about volunteering."

Approximately 100 recently injured veterans with medical conditions from spinal cord injury, amputation, and blindness, to traumatic brain injury (TBI), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other neurological and physical medical conditions will be sailing San Diego’s Big Bay during the week in Challenged America’s fleet of sailboats (e.g., Martin 16s two-person sloop, Capri 22, Kiwi 35 and Custom racing 43), and also in the SailUSA11.com’s "Stars & Stripes" America’s Cup yacht.   The disabled veterans will also be exposed to kayaking with FastLane Sports at Mission Bay Yacht Club, surfing at La Jolla Shores with The Association of Amputee Surfers, adaptive cycling at the embarcadero, and a tour of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.  With the veterans all being recently disabled (within the past two years, many being combat-disabled, they and their families will have a busy week of experiencing the many therapeutic recreational activities available to them, which they should be able to continue when they return home. 

Challenged America first proposed the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic to officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1996 as an alternative Summer program too parallel the VA’s already successful Winter Sports Clinic in Colorado each year.   In 2008 the first National Summer Sports Clinic for recently injured veterans in San Diego was approved as a pilot project.  And due to its overwhelming success was not only installed as a permanent recreational rehabilitation event, but one planned for San Diego for the next five years.  Recently injured veterans, their families, physical therapists and others attending the "Clinic’ will be introduced to sailing, and other scheduled events, with the opening ceremony at Sea World on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009. and ending on Friday, Sept. 25 with awards and a closing evening banquet at the Marriott Hotel.

Founded in San Diego in 1978, the year-round, charitable, volunteer-driven Challenged America program is based on Shelter Island, with financial support from the general public.  Its fleet of 12 vessels are donated, and volunteers (sailors and non-sailors), supporters and sponsors are needed to continue the program, which attracts hundreds of participants each year, from around the nation and the world.  More than 75 Challenged America volunteers alone will participate in this year’s National Veterans Summers Sports Clinic.

For additional information on Challenged America, the upcoming National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic and its sailing schedule, how you and your company can support Challenged America, and to receive the free monthly Challenged America e-newsletter, visit or contact Carolyn or Kelli at Challenged America at 2240 Shelter Island Drive, Suite 108, San Diego, CA 92106, phone (619) 523-9318, email [email protected], or visit www.ChallengedAmerica.org.