Local Veteran Competes in National Veterans Wheelchair GamesPittsburgh, Pa.- Belleville, Ill. native and Marine Corps Veteran Joseph Avellone, 34, is competing in the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games, being held through August 6 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Attracting around 600 athletes each year, the National Veterans Wheelchair Games are the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world.
Events at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games showcase the remarkable athletic abilities and personal achievements of our nation's Veterans with disabilities, and also highlight the benefits of sports rehabilitative programs.
The Games are designed for Veterans who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord injuries, amputations, or neurological problems, for athletic competition. Avellone,  has a spinal cord injury and currently receives care at the VA medical facility in St. Louis, Mo.
Avellone is competing in the following events:
The Games are presented by Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and are hosted this year by the Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. The Games are funded with help of generous corporate sponsors.
Athletes compete within three divisions - Masters (over age 40), Novice (first-time competitors), and Open (all others). They also compete within classes according to the level of their physical ability, with three quadriplegic-level classes (IA, IB, and IC), and four paraplegic-level or amputee classes (II, III, IV, and V). Avellone competes as a Class 1A in the Open division.
Note to Editor: If you would like to interview this Veteran, contact Susan Varcie at (734) 417-6260 or (734) 845-3706 after August 7. For more information about the event, please visit the Games Web site at www.wheelchairgames.va.gov. Information above provided by the Veteran.