Olivia Nord, a United States Marine Corps veteran and native of Lakeville, participated in the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, hosted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in collaboration with Wounded Warrior Project, Veterans Canteen Service and dozens of other partners.
The week-long event in San Diego, in its 12th year, includes 130 veterans from across the country, with a variety of injuries, ranging from traumatic brain injury and polytrauma, to spinal cord injury or loss of limbs.
The Summer Sports Clinic provides a training ground for veterans and health care providers in outdoor summer sports such as sailing, surfing, kayaking, cycling and pickleball. Keeping true to VA’s Whole Health Initiative, this event is used to educate and build a strong foundation that will further each veteran’s dedication to their overall rehabilitation, health, and pursuit of a rewarding lifestyle.
“There is no finer place than the Summer Sports Clinic to see the incredible heart and courage of our warrior Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “More than camaraderie and sportsmanship, this clinic helps our veterans thrive through adaptive sports and other activities. I’m proud of our dedicated staff and all the community supporters who make this possible.”
“I’m still not the best,” said Nord. “I see how far I’ve come and I’m getting better.”
“My friends think I’m crippled,” she adds. “I’m not crippled.”
Nord, who has no use of her left arm and a leg brace on her left leg, has determined this is only the beginning for her and she will not stop until she overcomes her physical limitations.
“For me, the faith is not always what you believe in. It’s what you do to get better,” Nord says. “I have faith in myself that I will get better.”
The National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic is hosted by the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and more than 300 volunteers donated their time and effort.