Valor Games Southeast: Disabled veteran sporting event goes virtual

Some events are far too important to simply cancel during this unprecedented era. That's why the Valor Games Southeast are going virtual. The eighth annual event won't have the physical activities in a group setting, but it will provide a much-needed place to check in from a distance.

It's a week service members and veterans with disabilities look forward to all year. Event Manager of Bridge II Sports Katharine Doyle is trying to make the best of a bad situation.

"They live all over the country and Valor Games Southeast is one of those places where they can check up on each other in person," said Doyle.

Eleven adaptive sports drawing over 100 competitors and dozens of volunteers was forced to cancel leaving a big void to fill. Like their athletes, Bridge II Sports had to adapt offering three days of webinars and virtual hangouts.

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"They're not going to be perfect but we're doing the best that we can and it's a great platform to stay in communication with each other in the office and hopefully get the athletes connected."

To kick things off, two-time paralympic silver medalist and Gulf War veteran John Register will host an opening ceremony. Whether injured in action or not, he wants vets to embrace a new normal and not try and be something they were prior to getting hurt.

"There really is no normal, that's gone that doesn't exist any longer, so, therefore, what am I doing every single day that will elevate me to grow and that's exactly what I want to share on Monday with these individuals."

Exactly 26 years ago today, John lost his left leg training for the Olympic team. While hurdling he hyperextended his knee in a life-altering accident. Military personnel can relate to the same fears John experienced.

"Do I still have a job in the Army, can I support my family. My Olympic dreams are over, when I say those things people begin to identify, 'I was dealing with the same thing in my life".

In lieu of games this year, athletes are encouraged to log any physical activity during the three days. There is also an incentive to reach a minimum requirement of online participation.

"If you do all of that, they'll get something else from us in the mail. We're trying to keep people motivated and I think sending something in the mail to them was really meaningful."

If restrictions get lifted, Bridge II Sports is hoping to host a smaller version of Valor Games Southeast in the fall. If not they plan to be back in full swing a year from now.
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