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More than 900 Low-Income Youth, Wounded Warfighters and Adults with Disabilities Benefit from Access to Adaptive Sports

$230,000 Anthem Foundation Grant to Disabled Sports USA Supports Activities in Eight States

ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than 900 low-income youth, wounded warfighters and adults with disabilities received access to sports and recreation rehabilitation programs in eight states across the country thanks to a $230,000 grant from the Anthem Foundation to Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA).

/EIN News/ -- Programs were supported through local DSUSA chapters including: Adaptive Sports and Recreation Association and United States Adaptive Recreation Center in California, National Sports Center for the Disabled in Colorado, Sports Association, Gaylord Hospital in Connecticut, Turnstone Center for Disabled Children and Adults in Indiana, Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation in Maine, Northeast Passage in New Hampshire, STRIDE Adaptive Sports in New York, and The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition in Ohio.  This grant helped participants learn adaptive sports while achieving and sustaining physical activity levels leading to a healthy lifestyle, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Keith Deutsch, a wounded warfighter and participant in the metro Denver kayaking program hosted by Disabled Sports USA chapter National Sports Center for the Disabled, lost his right leg above the knee in 2003 while serving in Iraq.  Participation in kayaking programs like the one sponsored through the Anthem Foundation grant helped Keith realize he could maintain the active lifestyle he had prior to his injury.

“Sports are very important to me,” said Keith.  “When I’m out on the water, I can forget about my amputation and spend the day participating in a shared activity with my daughter.” 

This grant provided access to adaptive equipment, specialized instruction and accessible facilities, ensuring success in sports and increasing the opportunities that youth and adults with disabilities had to be physically active.  A Harris Interactive research study of more than 1,000 adults with disabilities showed that those who participate in DSUSA adaptive sports programs were significantly happier, healthier and more likely to be employed than those who do not participate in adaptive sports.

“Thanks to this generous grant from the Anthem Foundation, hundreds of youth and wounded warfighters were able to experience the power of adaptive sports,” said Kirk Bauer, executive director of DSUSA and a disabled Vietnam veteran. “Research tells us that the benefits of adaptive sports extend to all aspects of life including higher employment levels, improved health and increased life satisfaction.” 

"At Anthem, we’re committed to providing opportunities that encourage healthy, active lifestyles – and we believe those opportunities should extend to individuals of all abilities,” said Jeff Spahr, vice president, Specialty Businesses at Anthem, Inc. “We’re proud to continue the Foundation’s partnership with Disabled Sports USA to bring sports and recreational programs that help individuals develop independence, increase confidence, improve fitness and enjoy healthier lifestyles.”

The Anthem Foundation has provided DSUSA and its chapters with more than $900,000 in grant support since 2009 for adaptive sports programming in dozens of winter and summer sports, including: skiing, snowboarding, golf, kayaking, rafting, cycling, rock climbing, scuba diving, fishing, surfing, sailing, and more.

The Anthem Foundation grant to DSUSA is part of its continuing work to promote healthy, active lifestyles in communities across the country. Through its Healthy Generations program, the Anthem 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.

About Disabled Sports USA
Founded in 1967, Disabled Sports USA is a 501(c)(3) 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 50 summer and winter sports through its nationwide network of more than 120 community-based chapters.  For more information, visit www.disabledsportsusa.org.

About Anthem Foundation
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, 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 year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at http://anthemfoundation.tumblr.com.

Dave Simonson at Disabled Sports USA: 301-217-9837