CHICAGO (CBS) — Football season is upon us, but Soldier Field was hosting athletes of a different kind today. Hundreds of wounded veterans from across the country are competing in The Valor Games Midwest.
Events include archery, indoor rowing, cycling and much more, but the athletes and organizers say the 3-day event is about so much more than competition.
“That takes away your excuses, and you’ll want to drive on. You’ll want to push harder,” said Army veteran Noah Galloway.
And Noah Galloway knows. He lost his leg and arm in an IED attack in 2005 while on his second deployment to Iraq. He was the keynote speaker at today’s opening ceremony.
“I’ve suffered the depression. I wanted nothing more than to have my arm and leg back, but then when I accepted the fact that this is who I am and I got up and I got back in shape and I started taking care of myself, everything turned around,” said Galloway.
It was the same for Marine veteran Cletis Mayes who lost his legs to a land mine while serving in Vietnam.
“You get out there and you compete and you’re inspired by that,” said Mayes.
Mayes says that the games “Totally rebuilds your confidence.
Organizers of the Valor Games say that’s exactly why they created the event.
“It’s amazing how they really come out of their shell. They really feel they are a part of something that is bigger than them again and it really gives them the confidence they need,” said Scott Myers of World Sports Chicago.
In addition to the competitions, The Valor Games provide veterans and members of the military with information and services they can use year round. The games will continue tomorrow through Wednesday.