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Wheelchair Fencers Visit the Colorado Springs VA Clinic to Grow Fencing

08/22/2018, 3:45pm CDT
By Kristen Henneman

Anna Kennedy, Terry Hayes, Patricia Dykes and Eddie Adelman worked worked with potential future wheelchair fencers during the VA clinic. Photo Credit: Ginny Boydston

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – As part of its semi-annual training camp, the USA Fencing wheelchair fencing program held two training sessions at the PFC Floyd K Lindstrom Outpatient Veteran Affairs Clinic on August 10.

Members of the VA were able to interact with the 12 wheelchair fencers attending the camp, see the sport in action and receive information about wheelchair fencing.  

Led by coaches Mickey Zeljkovic (Huntingdon Valley, Pa.) and Jair Cortazar (Provo, Utah), attendees at the camp included two-time Paralympian Joey Brinson (Florence, Miss.) as well as military veterans Patricia Dykes (Gulf Breeze, Fla.), Terry Hayes (North Fort Myers, Fla.) and Anna Kennedy (Ogden, Utah).

“As a United States Army retiree, I had such an awesome sense of pride, and was so honored, to introduce my favorite sport to my fellow retirees and veterans. To tell them that I began fencing in 1978 able bodied, and that five years ago I switched to wheelchair fencing due to my military injuries, conveyed to them not to stop doing what you love,” said 2017 Wheelchair World Team member Dykes, who was an airborne/air assault advanced medic and x-ray tech in the Army. “As I described each of the weapons to them and that they could recreationally fence or that they could take it all the way to the Paralympic Games, it opened their minds to what more life can offer through wheelchair fencing.”

USA Fencing is continuing to work with other organizations to grow the sport and create awareness about wheelchair fencing. Next week, USA Fencing will partner with Paralyzed Veterans of America from Aug. 30-31 at the San Diego VA Hospital, where four-time Paralympians Gerard Moreno (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Mario Rodriguez (Port Hueneme, Calif.) will be leading instruction and continuing to spread information about wheelchair fencing. 

The event is open to the public. Lionheart Academy, the Challenged Athletes Foundation and a representative from San Diego State University’s adaptive fitness clinic will be in attendance.

Times for the event each day are as follows:

August 30: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
August 31: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

For more information, contact Brandon Dyett at b.dyett@usafencing.org.

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