PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – More than 600 veterans in wheelchairs have taken over the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

They are here for the 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games.

The Convention Center is a haven for heroes this week. Disabled veterans from across the nation, not to mention Great Britain and Puerto Rico, are testing their skills in a variety of events.

Seventeen events ranging from basketball and bowling to swimming and quad rugby will take place during the five-day event.

The competitors are veterans of every American conflict dating back to World War II.

Scot Severn was on guard duty with the Army Reserves near his Michigan home in 1989 when he was hit by lightning.

“I took a direct hit, went head to toe. When it released me it threw me about 40 feet, and put me in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” Severn said.

Twenty minutes of CPR from fellow soldiers brought him back to life.

Cindy McIntosh of Mississippi was struck by a car 10 years after she finished a stint in the Navy. Others have experienced illnesses, like multiple sclerosis. This is their release.

“It’s fantastic. It’s something I look forward to every year. People like me with disabilities that understand,” McIntosh said.

Competitors become good friends with people they see just once a year.

“It’s hard to imagine that I probably personally know a couple hundred of these 600 people that are here,” Severn said.


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