Sports Programs Expanding

Reprinted from PN April 2011

$7.5 million awarded to the U.S. Olympic Committee to enhance recreation and sporting activities for disabled veterans.

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is awarding two grants totaling $7.5 million to the U.S. Olympic Committee to enhance recreation and sporting activities for disabled veterans and disabled members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“Many of our veterans have experienced traumatic injuries while at the peak of their physical conditioning,” says Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

“Our partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee will aid in their recovery by allowing them to engage in therapeutic sporting events and competition right in their own communities.”

Additionally, Christopher J. Nowak has been selected as director of the VA Paralympics Program Office.

Under terms of the grant agreements, funding will be provided to the Olympic Committee’s member organizations, Paralympic sports clubs, and veteran and military organizations nationwide to implement community-based physical-activity programs for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces. Disabled veterans can locate adaptive sporting events in their com­munities by visiting the U.S. Paralympics website,

Public Law 110-389 authorized VA to award grants to the U.S. Olympic Committee to plan, manage, and implement an adaptive sports program.

Since 1999, Nowak has served as a prosthetics manager for VA Healthcare Veterans Integrated Service Network 4, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, and parts of West Virginia, New Jersey, and New York. A 17-year veteran of VA, he directs a $92-million budget and all prosthetics operations for ten VA medical centers.

Nowak joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1983. His military career ended in 1987, when the then-infantry squad leader lost his right leg to friendly fire during a routine training exercise. He is a champion of sports rehabilitation for wounded soldiers and veterans. He developed and co-chaired “First Swing” and “Next Step” golf clinics for amputee veterans and is a former member of the USA Amputee Hockey Team.


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