The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System is hosting the SAVAHCS VA Wheelchair Game competitors, medal recipients and their families today at 1 p.m. in the Community Living Center, conference room C108. SAVAHCS had eight Veteran patients from southern Arizona, one from Phoenix, and one from Prescott, Arizona participating in this year’s National Wheelchair Games which was held at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida.
This year’s Arizona team returned back from the VA National Games with a total of 26 medals with 15 Gold, four Silver, and seven Bronze medals. These State competitors were coached by Karen Gialle, SAVAHCS Nurse Practitioner, Spinal Cord Injury Section, Rehabilitation and Transitional Care Line. The Wheelchair Games, presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), was open to all U.S. military Veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, certain neurological conditions, amputations or other mobility impairments.
Competitors who have never participated in the games are in the Novice Division. Open Division are those who have been before and are under age 40, or choose to still compete open if over 40. The Master Division are those who have been before and over the age of 40. And Senior Division over 50 years of age. The 33rd Games were co-hosted by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).
SAVAHCS had the following individuals competing from southern Arizona: Joseph Chitty, Tucson –Seniors Division; Nine ball – Gold medal, Weightlifting – Gold medal, Table tennis – Bronze medal. Theron Hallock; Green Valley – Seniors Division; Motorized Slalom – Bronze medal. Ray Cuevas; - Tucson – Masters Division; Track & Field Events: Discus – Gold medal, Javelin – Gold medal, , Shot put – Silver medal, Bowling – Gold medal. Pamela Foley; – Tucson – Masters Division; Weightlifting – Silver medal, 9-Ball – Silver medal, Bowling – Bronze; Motorized Slalom – Gold medal. Steve Hymers; – Oro Valley – Open Division; Bowling – Gold medal, 9 Ball – Bronze medal. Steve O’Brien; – Tucson – Open Division; Swimming – Gold medal, Softball – Gold medal. Jesus Rangel-Carpio; – Tucson – Open Division; Track & Field events; Shot put – Gold medal, Discus – Bronze medal, Javelin – Bronze medal, Bowling – Bronze medal. Angel Segarra; – Sierra Vista – Novice Division – Slalom – Gold medal, Swimming – Gold medal, Softball – Silver medal. The other Arizona team members were: Tim Ramos; – Prescott – Open Division; Bowling – Gold medal, Motorized Motor Rally – Gold medal. John Tuzzolino; – Phoenix – Open Division; Weightlifting – Gold medal.