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Vet Summer Clinic kicks off

The inaugural National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic started Monday, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Activities will take place through Friday around San Diego.

All of the surfing events will be contested at La Jolla Shores each day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Other events include swimming, kayaking, cycling and competing in track and field events.

Cindy Butler, San Diego representative for the VA, said the vets will get instruction in the various sports, as well as stress management and coping skills. After the training sessions, the teams will travel and compete together throughout the week.

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Ideally, the athletes will develop relationships that enable them to stay connected and support each other long after the event is over, said Richard Olague, the VA public affairs coordinator overseeing the event.

Other venues are Mission Bay Yacht Club, San Diego Harbor, South Park on the Embarcadero across from the Marriott Hotel and the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

Olague said approximately 60 veterans, including some from San Diego County, are expected to participate. All of the athletes were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan, he said. Their injuries range from amputations and traumatic brain injuries to burns and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Olague said that the main purpose of the clinic is to provide the veterans with opportunities to bond and establish camaraderie.

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