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UCO Receives Grant From Veteran Affairs, U.S. Olympic Committee

May 5, 2014

Media Contact: Whitt Carter, Communications Specialist, Wellness Center, University of Central Oklahoma, 405-974-3127,


U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), recently selected the University of Central Oklahoma to receive a grant of $274,119 in support of Paralympic sport and physical activity programs for disabled veterans and disabled members of the armed forces.

The grant is a part of the more than $7.5 million the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded to 70 community organizations and national governing bodies, including USOC, around the country.

Through this program, grants ranging from $13,000 to $500,000 were provided to USOC partner organizations and community programs to increase the number and quality of opportunities for physically or visually impaired veterans to participate in physical activity within their home communities and in more advanced Paralympic sport programs at the regional and national levels.

“Through our partnership with the USOC, we have built a program that not only acts as a pathway to the Paralympics, but also gives our disabled military the opportunity to overcome their disabilities and improve their overall quality of life,” said Joe Ready, adapted sport coordinator at Central.

“This funding has allowed thousands of veterans and service members with physical disabilities to participate in Paralympic sport at the community level,” added Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics, USOC. “Through the leadership at Veterans Affairs and within Congress, these funds have a tremendous impact on the availability of programs across the country, not to mention thousands of lives.”

Central plans to use the grant for things such as Paralympic military sport clinics with disabled veterans, housing and training for two military powerlifting resident athletes, the hiring of an additional powerlifting coach, equipment, personal training sessions, Paralympic sport camps and to cover costs for 100 disabled military athletes to attend the 2014 UCO Endeavor Games.

Research has shown that regular participation in physical activity has a positive effect on the rehabilitation process, self-esteem, education, employment and overall health

Central is an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site and is the host training site for Men’s and Women’s Sitting Volleyball. Athletes can train for Olympic volleyball and any Paralympic sport at the university. Currently, Central hosts resident athletes in the Paralympic sports of sitting volleyball, archery, track and field and powerlifting, and the Olympic sport of taekwondo.

For more information on Central’s Olympic and Paralympic programs, visit