Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder, a naval academy graduate who was blinded in 2011 by an improvised explosive device, won two gold medals and one silver medal in swimming at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He competed at the 2012 Warrior Games presented by Deloitte.
Kari Miller, a U.S. Army veteran, had both her legs amputated after she was hit by a drunk driver. She won silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games in sitting volleyball.
Launched by the United States Olympic Committee in 2004, the Paralympic Military Program uses Paralympic sport opportunities to support wounded, ill and injured American service members and veterans, including those with amputations, traumatic brain injuries and visual impairments. Through camps and clinics held year-round across the country, service members and veterans are introduced to Paralympic sport techniques and opportunities, including local and regional competitions, and are also connected to ongoing Paralympic sport programs in their communities including those provided by Paralympic Sport Clubs.
Through partnerships with the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the work of the U.S. Olympic Committee has impacted the lives of thousands of wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. Over 2,000 athletes are annually served directly by the Paralympic Military Program with thousands more enabled by the connections the program has provided them.
But the program is not just about sports. It is about attitude, camaraderie and teamwork as well helping service members and veterans to return to a healthy, active lifestyle that will enable them to succeed both on and off the field of play. A cornerstone of the program is mentorship. Paralympic athletes who have overcome their own physical disabilities to achieve excellence act as mentors for athletes who are starting their own athletic journey.
Service members and veterans interested in sport opportunities can visit FindaClub.USParalympics.org to locate on-going programs in their community. Prospective athletes can also visit GatewaytoGold.org to find talent identification events, including military-specific camps and clinics. Launched in 2013, Gateway to Gold is a talent identification program that will introduce people with physical and visual disabilities to Paralympic sport and lead them to the athlete pipeline for the U.S. Paralympic Team.
Athletes who are interested in pursuing competition at the highest levels, including becoming a member of the U.S. Paralympic Team, are encouraged not only to become involved with local opportunities but also to fill out the Paralympic Identified Athlete Questionnaire. Once the questionnaire is completed, a member of the U.S. Paralympics staff will follow-up with information.
The Paralympic Military Program is sponsored in part by Defense Support of Civil Authorities, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Homeland Defense & Americas' Security Affairs. The content of these pages does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Government and no official endorsement should be inferred.