Shepherd Snyder Published

Veterans From Martinsburg VAMC Participate In National Athletic Competition

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Athletes from the Martinsburg VA Medical Center are representing the Eastern Panhandle as they begin competition in the National Veterans Golden Age Games in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Golden Age Games is an annual event that helps older veterans stay active and makes sports accessible. The veterans involved with Team Martinsburg train all year as part of their personal treatment plans.

“We usually start up in October, and we train for our next games in May,” said team coach Michael Clark. “They get with their provider and they figure out what kind of goals they want. If it’s weight loss, if it’s more mobility, or if it’s just overall well being.”

The games are both a mental and physical positive for the veterans involved in the event. The team has seen its share of successes, but Clark says the overall goal is to improve the players’ quality of life.

“Veterans have a tendency to isolate themselves. We give them an opportunity to be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves,” Clark said. “It helps them with camaraderie, helps them with the social aspects of their life. And then if you’re healthy and you’re working out and you’re focusing on fitness, you just feel better.”

As part of the event, the athletes will compete in sports like badminton, track and field, and basketball. The games are a qualifier for the National Senior Games, the nation’s largest multi-sport event for those over 50 years old.

Those in the Martinsburg area interested in participating can talk to their primary doctor about a Golden Age Games consultation.