INDIANAPOLIS, April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 400 wounded warriors and youth with disabilities will benefit from rehabilitation programs in sports and recreation through a $200,000 grant from the WellPoint Foundation to Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA). The grant will support DSUSA's military sports rehabilitation program, Warfighter Sports, which provides year-round sports programs free of cost to injured service members and their families with individualized adaptive instruction, and also helps provide more adaptive sports opportunities for youth with disabilities. The goal of the grant is to help service members and youth with disabilities achieve healthy lifestyles and sustain the activity levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We are thrilled to receive this generous grant from the WellPoint Foundation. In partnership with our local chapters nationwide, DSUSA will continue to provide rehabilitation through sports to our wounded warriors and youth," said Kirk Bauer, executive director of DSUSA and a disabled Vietnam veteran. "Surveys have shown that individuals who participate in our sports and recreation programs are more likely to succeed in leading healthier, more productive and fulfilling lives."
"When someone becomes disabled, many things in their life change; however, that shouldn't stop the person from enjoying a full and active life that includes sports and other activities," said Bill Smith, president and general manager of WellPoint's Disability and Life Business. "As a company, we are very committed to helping people with disabilities get back to health, back to work and back to life. Therefore, we believe providing funds to support sports rehabilitation programs such as those offered by DSUSA is the right thing to do to aid those individuals who have given so much to this country, as well as help the youth gain access to programs that will help them live healthy and active lives."
The grant funds will help DSUSA and its chapters, which provide sports instruction to wounded warriors and youth with disabilities nationwide, including communities in California, Connecticut, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and Virginia as well as military medical centers in Maryland, Texas and California. More than 30 different winter and summer sports are offered by DSUSA, including: Skiing, snowboarding, golf, kayaking, rafting, cycling, rock climbing, scuba diving, fishing, surfing, sailing, and more.
"Our service men and women make great sacrifices defending our freedoms and liberties," said Lance Chrisman, director of the WellPoint Foundation. "It is an honor to work with DSUSA to help these heroes recover and return to enjoying the fun and health benefits of sports with their families."
The WellPoint Foundation grant to DSUSA is part of its continuing work to promote healthy, active lifestyles in communities across the country. Through its State Health Index – a state-by-state compilation of public health measures – and Healthy Generations program, the WellPoint Foundation works to identify the issues most in need of attention and then directs its charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas. Reducing cardiac mortality rates, eliminating unnecessary preterm births, increasing influenza vaccination rates, and addressing the long-term health threats posed by childhood obesity are major focus areas of the Foundation.
About Disabled Sports USA
Founded in 1967, Disabled Sports USA is a charitable organization that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence and fitness through participation in sports. What began as a program to serve Vietnam veterans has since grown into one of the nation's largest multi-sport, multi-disability organizations, annually serving more than 60,000 wounded warriors, youth and adults with disabilities. A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Disabled Sports USA offers programs in more than 40 summer and winter sports through its nationwide network of more than 100 community-based chapters. For more information, visit www.dsusa.org.
About WellPoint Foundation
The WellPoint Foundation is the philanthropic arm of WellPoint, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of WellPoint, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation, please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org.
SOURCE WellPoint Foundation