A Newcomerstown area man competed in the 35th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Dallas Texas, June 21-26.
Austin Trzop, 20, participated in the games. He took part in air rifle, soccer, junk throw and weight lifting.
He received three medals: Bronze medals in soccer and junk throw, and silver medal in weight lifting. He also placed fifth in air rifle.
The National Veterans Wheelchair Games are an outgrowth of the Department of Veterans Affairs' historic involvement in wheelchair sports. Wheelchair sports had their beginning in the aftermath of World War II, when young disabled veterans began playing wheelchair basketball in VA hospitals throughout the United States.
Interest in wheelchair basketball soon spread to other sports such as track and field, bowling, swi0ming, and archery, spawning the formation of several associations devoted to new and innovative wheelchair sports.
While the participation of paralyzed and other disabled veterans continued to flourish during the intervening years, it was not until 1980, when VA established a Recreation Therapy Service, that VA's efforts brought about an enhanced awareness of the rehabilitative value of wheelchair athletics. Since then, VA therapists have used wheelchair sports as a therapeutic tool for treating veterans with disabilities.
The first National Veterans Wheelchair Games were held in 19 81, the "International Year of Disabled Persons," at the VA Medical Center in Richmond, Va. That year, 74 veterans from 14 states competed in sports ranging from table tennis and billiards, to swimming and weightlifting.
Those first Games established an enduring trait that has characterized the event ever since -- a strong sense of common identity and camaraderie among the participants.
The hundreds of veterans who choose to compete in the games each year demonstrate their continuing popularity.
More than 600 athletes watched as the 35th Games came to a close Friday evening, June 23 and then had a glimpse of what's to come in the Beehive state when the 36th Games arrive in June of 2016.
The Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 27 through July 2, 2016.
As far as Trzop planning to attend the 2016 games, the plans are already in the works, according to his father, Jim Trzop.