It’s reportedly the largest wheelchair sporting event in the world and its coming to the Tampa Bay area July 13-18. It’s the 33rd annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
Florida Matters visits with a wheelchair athlete turned dancer who is coming out of retirement to compete in the Games. It’s been 10 years since Navy veteran Dwayne Scheuneman sprinted competitively. But even at 44, he believes he’ll be competitive in the 100 and 200 yard races.
He also plans to participate in quad rugby – an adaptive form of rugby for wheelchair athletes. He’ll be playing with Davis Celestine, president of the Gulf Coast chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Celestine, a wheelchair athlete in quad rugby and weight lifting, joins the Florida Matters panel along with Dr. Kevin White, chief of the spinal cord injury unit at James A. Haley VA Hospital and Karen Collins with Haley VA public affairs.
Opening ceremonies are Saturday, July 13th, with the games beginning Sunday and running through Thursday. There are 18 different sports from trap shooting and bowling to basketball and table tennis.
There are also two demonstration sports - tennis and water skiing. Many of the events are scheduled at the Tampa Bay Convention Center and Tampa Bay Times Forum. Other venues include Raymond James Stadium, the Long Center for swimming and Seminole Lake for water skiing.
All events are free and open for the public to watch and cheer on the veteran athletes.