More than 600 Youth, Wounded Warfighters and Adults with Disabilities Helped through $220,000 Anthem Foundation Grant to Disabled Sports USA

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National Adaptive Sports Partnership Grant supports youth, wounded warfighters and adults with disabilities through adaptive sports and recreation programs in eight states

Adaptive skiing has not only allowed me to be physical again, but it has also allowed me to spend more fun time with my kids on the slopes.

More than 600 youth, wounded warfighters and adults with disabilities will benefit from rehabilitation programs in sports and recreation in eight states thanks to a $220,000 grant from the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., to Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA).

Since 2011, the Anthem Foundation has provided DSUSA and its chapters with more than $1 million in grants for adaptive sports programming in more than 50 different winter and summer sports, including: skiing, snowboarding, golf, kayaking, rafting, cycling, rock climbing, scuba diving, fishing, surfing, sailing, and more.

The grant provides local adaptive sports opportunities to wounded warfighters, adults and youth with disabilities by supporting the following DSUSA chapters: Adaptive Sports and Recreation Association in California, National Sports Center for the Disabled in Colorado, Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities in Indiana, Wheelchair Sports, Inc. in Kansas, Disabled Athlete Sports Association in Missouri, Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation in Maine, STRIDE Adaptive Sports in New York, and The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition in Ohio. This grant will help participants learn adaptive sports while achieving and sustaining physical activity levels leading to a healthy lifestyle, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Youth and adults with disabilities are much more likely to be physically inactive, due to the lack of access to adaptive equipment, specialized instruction and accessible facilities. This results in much higher risks for obesity and health-related diseases. A Harris Interactive research study of more than 1,000 adults with disabilities showed that those who participate in DSUSA adaptive sports programs were significantly happier, healthier and more likely to be employed than those who do not participate in adaptive sports.

“Adaptive skiing has not only allowed me to be physical again, but it has also allowed me to spend more fun time with my kids on the slopes,” said Don Tallman who, after serving nearly 20 years in the Marine Corps and Army, was severely injured in Afghanistan in 2008. Today, Don participates in adaptive sports programs with his kids at STRIDE Adaptive Sports in New York, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA supported by this Anthem Foundation grant.

The Anthem Foundation grant to DSUSA is part of its continuing work to promote healthy, active lifestyles in communities across the country. Through its Healthy Generations program, the Anthem Foundation works to identify the issues most in need of attention and then directs its charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas.

“At Anthem, we are committed to providing opportunities that encourage healthy, active lifestyles and we believe those opportunities should extend to individuals of all abilities,” said Pam Kehaly, president west region and specialty business, Anthem, Inc. “We are proud to continue the Foundation’s partnership with Disabled Sports USA to bring sports and recreational programs that help individuals develop independence, increase confidence, improve fitness and enjoy healthier lifestyles.”

“The Anthem Foundation has made it possible for thousands of individual with disabilities to experience the power of sports," said Kirk Bauer, executive director of DSUSA and a disabled Vietnam veteran. “Learning and participating in adaptive sports provides youth and adults with disabilities the confidence and motivation that helps in all areas of their lives, from family, friends, to school, employment and community participation.”

About Disabled Sports USA
Founded in 1967, Disabled Sports USA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence and fitness through participation in sports. What began as a program to serve Vietnam veterans has since grown into one of the nation’s largest multi-sport, multi-disability organizations, annually serving more than 60,000 wounded warriors, youth and adults with disabilities. A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Disabled Sports USA offers programs in more than 50 summer and winter sports through its nationwide network of more than 120 community-based chapters. For more information, visit http://www.disabledsportsusa.org.

About Anthem Foundation
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at http://anthemfoundation.tumblr.com.

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