World T.E.A.M. Sports 2017 Annual Review 2017 World T.E.A.M. Annual Review - Page 17

Our athletes defy limits every day. 29.9% live with multiple physical injuries and illness 21.7% live with traumatic brain injury 7.2% live with spinal injury and paralysis 6.7% live with post-traumatic stress 2.7% live with amputation of a limb 1.8% live with blindness to protect the athletes from unknowing drivers. Every 10 to 12 miles, the athletes arrive at a rest stop, where enthusiastic volunteers offer food and water for refreshment and athletes take a moment to climb out of the saddle and recover. Dismounting their bikes in Gettysburg Sunday afternoon, riders only have lunch and a cold beer on their minds. Athletes relive the events of the weekend on the bus ride back home. Their shared experiences on the road with athletes from the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Europe and Australia have brought together a diverse group. Civilians, military veterans, active-duty military, and first responders, both able-bodied and adaptive, recognize their weekend was out of the ordinary and that their lives have changed as a result. For the adaptive veterans, they understand that sports and outdoor activities are worth pursuing. Improved physical fitness and positive attitudes can help them manage the many challenges NO LIMITS of life. For the able-bodied, riding with individuals who live with paralysis, amputation, blindness, Post Traumatic Stress, deafness and Traumatic Brain Injuries changes their perspective. Inspired by the determination and perseverance of their adaptive colleagues, the able-bodied recognize that living with a disability does not prevent participation in endurance events. Indeed, the determination of these adaptive athletes encourages the able-bodied to invite others to undertake athletic challenges. Supported by leading corporate and non-profit partners, Face of America excels in that the ride encourages conversation and understanding. There are no limits to inspiration or to breaking down barriers that may otherwise separate different geographic or demographic communities. Mile after mile, pedaling side by side, new networks of support lasting long after the journey home. Athletes understand they are not facing life alone and can reach out for assistance and guidance. In 2017, over 600 athletes completed the two-day ride. Face of America is World T.E.A.M.’s most popular and largest athletic event, with proceeds supporting not only the ride, but also in other outdoor events outdoor events in the coming year. Building upon the success of the Gettysburg ride, Face of America Liberty debuted in October. A single-day journey from the United States Military Academy at West Point, athletes cycled south along the Hudson River to New Jersey. They transferred by ferry to Manhattan and pedaled to the World Trade Center and its solemn reflecting pools. In September 2002 and 2003, Face of America began at this location, traveling three days to the Pentagon. The return to Manhattan recalled these earlier journeys and honored the military veterans who have given their lives or who have been i njured in service since the September 11 attacks. 15