Veteran Finds Empowerment, Sense of Family, Through Adaptive Sports

Ivanna Brown is one of 10 athletes selected for the Women Veteran Athletes Initiative. The participants represent all branches of the armed services and were selected by the VA and its partners — the Veterans Canteen Service, Team Red, White & Blue, the Semper Fi Fund and Comcast.

Ivanna, who is half-British and half-Jamaican, joined the U.S. Air Force on a green card even before she earned her U.S. citizenship. Her stepfather, who was an American citizen, was in the Air Force. Following his example, Ivanna joined the military following high school graduation in Germany at age 19.

At age 25 Ivanna Brown’s military career ended with a tragic car accident which left her a paraplegic. Ivanna chose to fight and find a new life, and she is proud to be a two-time participant in the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic.

The clinic exposed Ivanna to many different athletic pursuits, and she has become an avid participant in dragon boat racing and rowing. Hand cycling has become a daily activity as well.

The clinic is hosted by the VA in partnership with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) once a  year. Participation is open to active-duty service members and Veterans with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, and certain neurological problems and disabilities.  For more information about the winter sports clinic, visit www.wintersportsclinic.org.

Visit the Center for Women Veterans website to see photos of each athlete by Veterans Portrait Project photographer Stacy Pearsall. Find more on social media at @deptvetaffairs (Twitter, Instagram) and @VAWomenVets (Twitter, Facebook) and by following #WomenVetAthletes.

 

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Wendy Leonard

I am the daughter of a U.S. Army veteran from WWII, stationed in Japan and The Phillipines during the post-war occupation, and a U.S. Marine Corps Drill Sergeant, stationed at Parris Island during the Korean War. Following that tradition, I married a U.S. Army Military Policeman, stationed in Baumholder Germany in the early '80s. Maintaining the website and writing for Legacy Beyond Valor is my way of giving back to the men and women returning from U.S. military service with a need for help finding their way back into civilian society.

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