The seventh annual Air Force Wounded Warrior trials, set to begin March 20, 2020, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. was postponed March 12 due the COVID-19 public health threat.
The eight-day paralympic-style competition was scheduled for March 20-28 at facilities throughout the Las Vegas area. The competition, hosted by the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, is designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of the wounded, ill and injured service members that make up the group and select the team that represents the U.S. Air Force at the 2020 Department of Defense Warrior Games and the 2020 Invictus Games.
Like many other large events that have been postponed or cancelled, the program’s leadership said they felt canceling the games was in the best interest of the people who could be put at risk of contracting the disease.
“We take the coronavirus outbreak very seriously and are confident that by making this difficult and important decision, the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program will continue to do our part to prevent the further spread of the infection while putting the safety and well-being of our warriors, caregivers, families and our staff first,” said Col. Michael Flatten, Air Force Wounded Warrior Program director.
The program offered advice for athletes, caregivers, family and staff planning to be a part of the care event. “If you were scheduled to attend, please do not travel. You will be notified regarding travel information,” Flatten said. Active duty service members were instructed to cancel their flights in the Defense Travel System. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program staff will cancel all other DTS flights.
The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program is a congressionally mandated and federally funded organization administered by the Air Force’s Personnel Center in San Antonio. The adaptive-sports trials, made up of active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve and veterans, including their caregivers, is a competitive event that showcases the resiliency of wounded warriors and highlights the effectiveness of adaptive sports as part of their recovery.
While suspended, the trials are not over. The future of this year’s games will be decided based on the health and safety of its members, family and faculty.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and look to make a decision on a date and location for a future Air Force Trials in the coming months,” Flatten said.