DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Disabled Veterans from across the United States are in North Texas this week for the 35th National Veteran Wheelchair Games.
The annual event has been two years in the making for Dallas. It is a big deal for Dallas and an even bigger deal for the participants, giving new hope and purpose to those disabled during their time of service.
The Games have made a noticeable difference in the personality and life of veteran Untyon Shallow.
While Shallow was stationed in Afghanistan, his Christmas visit home to Dallas turned tragic. He was carjacked and shot in the spine, causing him to lose the use of his legs.
“When it first happened… I blamed everyone, you know,” Shallow said.
After years of depression, his therapist introduced him to the rugged sport of Quad Rugby.
“Ever since then, I fell in love with the sport,” Shallow said.
Shallow has participated in the National Veteran Wheelchair Games for six years as a Paralympic athlete. He is now training in the hopes of making the National Paralympic Quad Rugby Team.
Glen Bentley, executive director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Lone Star Chapter, said that he and his chapter were proud of Shallow for joining the Paralyzed Veterans of America after finding Quad Rugby.
Shallow is not alone. Several other veterans spoke to CBS 11’s Guy Rawlings at the Dallas Convention Center about their rejuvenated spirits, positive attitudes and improved outlook after participating in the Wheelchair Games.
Athletes can stay active during this week-long event by participating in several different sports like archery, basketball, bowling, swimming and weightlifting to name a few.
The games are a multi-sport and rehabilitation program for all U.S. military veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition. Many of the participants have suffered from spinal cord injuries, neurological conditions, amputations or other mobility impairments.
The National Veteran Wheelchair Games began Sunday and will continue through Friday.