Operation Mission Vision
USABA has a long history of working to enhance opportunities for the blind and visually impaired. With Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom resulting in the highest percentage of eye wounds in any major conflict since World War I, it is particularly important that we help the returning wounded Warriors. Once such opportunity, Operation Mission Vision, began in the summer of 2008 and continues to provide an opportunity for individuals who are blind and visually impaired to experience the thrill of competition in an assortment of sports. The goal of Operation Mission Vision is simply to bring normalcy back into the lives of those Veterans and active duty Service members who are blind and visually impaired and to accelerate their rehabilitation process through sport, recreation and physical activity.
Participation in physical activity - or a return to the norm - is often the most critical mental and physical aspect of the rehabilitation process for both the injured person, and that individual's support network – family, friends and peers. In partnership with the USOC Military Sports Program, USABA fully funds Veterans and their coaches to attend and participate in the USABA Summer and Winter Sports Festival.
Held in Colorado Springs (Summer Sports Festival) and Breckenridge, Colorado (Winter Sports Festival), the Mission Vision Program provides blind and visually impaired athletes from all over the United States a unique opportunity to train, learn, refine their abilities and compete alongside their peers in various sports clinics instructed by USABA national coaches. With the opportunity to hone their athletic skills, participants are empowered to take their sport to a higher level within their local community-based programs.
Operation Mission Vision promotes physical activity as a main element of rehabilitation. Staff members from Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Centers across the country, as well as former Paralympians and collegiate coaches, offer their skills and assistance in working with the athletes. The program affords the athletes an opportunity to learn or refine their athletic skills in a wide variety of Paralympic summer and winter sports afforded to athletes who are blind and visually impaired. The Summer Sports Festival training clinics include: Goalball (a sport specifically designed for the blind and visually impaired), track and field, tandem cycling, swimming and judo. The Winter Sports Festival focuses on Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and Biathlon. Additional clinics include such things as strength and conditioning, powerlifting and nutrition. Operation Mission Vision enhances the rehabilitation, readiness and quality of life of severely injured service members and Veterans. That is what makes the Operation Mission Vision movement so important.
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