By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Aaron Moffett, an associate professor of kinesiology at Cal State San Bernardino and founder and organizer of the university’s DisAbility Sports Festival, has been named head coach for Team USA at the 2016 Invictus Games in May for Wounded Warriors.
“This is the biggest and the most elite competition dedicated to Wounded Warriors. To be selected is by far the greatest professional compliment that I could ever receive,” said Moffett. “As a child, you grow up thinking about competing at the Olympics, and this is my chance to lead the greatest heroes of our generation in their Olympics. I have watched many of these Wounded Warriors over the last several years become active participants in their recovery.”
The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sports tournament for wounded, ill and injured members of the military, both active duty and veteran. It will be held from May 8-12 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. Former President George W. Bush will serve as the game’s honorary chairman.
More than 500 military competitors from 15 countries will take part in the Invictus Games in events that include: archery, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair racing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
The Invictus (which means “unconquered) Games came about after Prince Harry of Great Britain watched the Warrior Games in the United States in 2013. The prince saw how the power of sport could help physically, psychologically and socially, which convinced him of the need for the Invictus Games, and that London would host the inaugural international competition in 2014.
The Invictus Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their countries, Moffett said.
“The perseverance of our warrior athletes and their families are an inspiration to Americans everywhere,” said Brad Carson, the acting principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. “I continue to be impressed with the quality of the competitors and I look forward to celebrating the athletes’ accomplishments and watching the competition.”
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense created the Military Adaptive Sports Program to enhance warrior recovery by engaging wounded, ill and injured service members in ongoing, daily adaptive activities, based on their interest and ability. The U.S. competitors are among 500 of the world’s best athletes headed for the second rendition of the multi-national Invictus Games.
Athletes for the 115-member Team USA have been training in their hometowns, but have been reaching out to Moffett and their individual sport coaches to gain additional guidance, Moffett said.
“Team USA will be coming together in just a few weeks to show the world what they can accomplish,” Moffett said. “They will be showing the world what true dedication, service before self, and sheer willpower can do for the human spirit. The Invictus Games competition helps the athletes heal in so many ways that go beyond just the physical health aspects.”
“It allows them to focus on capabilities instead of inabilities to build their confidence. It allows them to focus on specific techniques and life skills to calm the mind instead of the demons that cause anxiety and PTSD,” Moffett said. “It allows teamwork and the feeling of brotherhood instead of feeling that one is isolated in their recovery. We also see families come together to train and improve family wellness by going on bike rides or swimming together.”
The CSUSB DisAbility Sports Festival, which was originally launched in 2007, promotes physical activity and sports for people with disabilities of all ages through a variety of sports, which are adapted to accommodate the respective disabilities. The DisAbility Sports Festival also raises awareness of disability sports and physical activity in the Inland Empire.
Set in the foothills of the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, CSUSB is a preeminent center of intellectual and cultural activity in inland Southern California. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015-2016, CSUSB serves more than 20,000 students each year and graduates about 4,000 students annually.
For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.